Category: Nations

Spiritually Open Borders. Is the Church Ready for the Work of Welcoming?

We sit in their living room on mismatched chairs and smile at one another trying to determine what we are all trying to say to one another. Their bright teeth shine beautiful out from their dark, warm African skin. They speak Swahili. We speak English. We laugh at what we cannot understand and hope that each of us will one day know one another.

IMG_2331They fled Democratic Republic of Congo sometime this last year and came to America only a month ago, thankfully with other families. Fear of fighting is what I understand. I ask the father in English and make guns with my fingers. “Did you leave because of war?” He doesn’t understand. “Did you leave because of fighting?” Guns pointing. He nods yes.

These refugees have run from what all refugees run from: fear of persecution, fear for their lives and their children’s lives, fear that all will be taken from them. They come here for shelter and safety.

However, in this case, they are Catholic. We share the same God. We speak the same spiritual language. We know the same Savior.

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If we didn’t share the same God, would that mean I didn’t want to know them? No, but in light of the knowledge that we are facing the ever-increasing fact that Muslims, by the thousands, are coming either as immigrants or refugees, we have some thinking to do.

This post isn’t about whether or not we should welcome the refugee, the lost, the wanderer. I dare not challenge my Lord’s directive. This post is more about these questions:

  • Is the church ready? 
    Is she ready for the months and months it takes to help a refugee family implant in our culture? Ready to help them shop, learn the language, go to school, ride the bus, find a job? Is she already partnering with the agencies that do this? Does she understand the undertaking? Is everyone ready for the long haul? Because it is a long haul.

It’s more than welcome banners and hugs at the airport.

  • Has she already done the work of engaging immigrants, refugees, the lost, the wanderer, the displaced, the lonely?
  • Is her compassion for the Syrians an extension of the compassion she has already shown to those here? In many cases, I’m sure it is.

But more than this, are we ready for the spiritual implications of spiritually open borders?

woman-812070_640Islam is not a religion that is the same as Christianity. Neither is Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Animism. They do not serve the same God, and in fact, serve a false god. This kind of false religion will bring with it strongholds and demonic powers that can, and will, influence us if we are not both intellectually and spiritually ready and equipped, in the Spirit and in the Word, to open our arms, homes, churches, and country to more and more false religions.

This is not to say we do not do such things as make friends with Muslims, or engage in our neighborhoods with Muslims. What we must understand is that while we find it heartwarming to be able to engage as a community, even move beyond acquaintances to friendships, there is an entire iceberg of cultural differences, an entire worldview, underneath our warm hellos and friendly dinners together.

Above the waterline of our deeply entrenched worldview we find the easiest cultural differences to overcome. They, and any other refugee or immigrant, will come see how we interact, what we eat, how we sound, what we smell like, what is considered rude, what is considered to be gratitude. On and on there are things that are considered to be “above the waterline.”

Below the waterline is a giant iceberg of differences. Values and beliefs that will not, and cannot, be compromised are buried deep in all of us. There are ingrained cultural habits that will not be moved nor changed. There are spiritual DNA strands unchangeable unless touched by the Holy Spirit. The worldview of the American Christian and the worldview of the Hindu, the Buddhist, the animist, the atheist, or the Muslims will clash and rip at one another under the waterline. What I value as deeply embedded beliefs about God, humanity, the heart and soul of a man, salvation, the afterlife, war, ancestors, and the future lies under the waterline.

As does theirs.

Are we even remotely ready, spiritually and prayerfully ready, for our icebergs to glide together in close proximity? Do we have the spiritual fortitude to pray against the evil attached to the false religions? Do we understand the gravity of the war we wage in the heavenlies when we so passionately want to welcome those who are fleeing to our country?

And welcome them we should.

Shrewdly, and in love. 

Jesus, when he sent out the disciples told them to be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10.)

As I read the posts and the blogs about whether or not we welcome the refugee, I actually want to sit with everyone, look at the ones who are saying, “Mercy! Love! Welcome!” and say “YES!” And I want to sit with the ones saying, “Pause! Wait! Think! Prepare!” and say “YES!”.

It is yes to all.

Yes to love.
Yes to open arms.
Yes to helping, serving, housing and sheltering.
Yes to prepare, be patient, understand, study, pray…deeply pray.

It will take all the the Body of Christ to show Christ to the nations. It is His heart’s passion that all men come to the only name that will save them. It is is intention that the manifold wisdom of God be made known by and through His church. In our love for one another, they will see we are Christians. It is not our love for them that prove that we are Christians, it is our love for one another.

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We must stop the fighting, and come together and unite. Not because “they” are coming, but they are already here! There is no good purpose in fighting. Humility is the way. We must unite in love, hope, mercy, prayer, intelligence, resources, strength, and spiritual preparedness for what we are so quickly wanting to happen and so ready to open our hearts and lives to. We must work together, prepare together, and most importantly, pray together.

This is no game. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but “against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6)

As we welcome, we must also be prepared to fight in the heavenlies in prayer. Protect your home in prayer, not by locking your doors (unless you’re threatened). Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Be the mouthpiece of the Gospel. Be the light of the World. Be the enemy’s greatest nightmare. We are ready to be welcomers. It’s in us because Christ is in us. Let us prepare ourselves for the work.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all the believers everywhere.” Eph. 6

Why You Matter

From since before the earth and universe were created, there has been one theme, one triumphant sound coming from one constant orchestration of what has been and what will be.

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From the first Spoken Word “Let there be Light” the Light spanned galaxies and time and space, turning the eyes and hearts of men toward one end point. The Light raced through history and screams past us on the Timeline of what is happening. We turn our heads and follow it, sometimes unknowingly, sometimes willingly, but all will eventually find where the Light comes to an end. At some point we will all stare at the End of the Light’s reach.

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What will we be looking at?

What will hold us captive?

Where will the Light take us?

Once the Light reaches its final end of its journey, after it’s illuminated all it was called to illuminate; once it’s finished the work required of it over the earth and universe, the Light is absorbed by its Creator. It returns to the One who spoke it into existence, and is needed no more because its Creator is the Light.

The Light will return to the Beginning where the Theme of the Universe first started. What is this Theme? What is the orchestration? What is the purpose of the Light?

The Creator’s Glory

The only reason The Creator spoke the light into existence, and the rest of the creation, was to bring back to Himself worship and glory.

Then He sent a Second Light. The Second Light was the exact representation of His Creator. Sharing character, power, authority. He came to bring the Light into the hearts of Man. For centuries, men watched the Light move around them, come down among them, guide them, reveal itself to them. But now, the Light came to live in their hearts.

Nothing like that had ever been seen or comprehended. 

The Second Light, pure, holy, righteous, paid ransom for all the First Light revealed, exposed. The created light had in it a wickedness that came and tainted, faded the light of men in sin and darkness. Only the sacrifice of The Light of Men could redeem all that was lost. His sacrifice cracked open the darkness and the Light expanded to all men in all nations on earth.

Then, after He set free all from darkness, He offered the Light to be manifested internally, eternally.

The Light in us still has the same purpose as the First light…

To bring glory to our Creator by taking the light to all men. All nations. All people groups. Not just geographical boundaries on a map, but that the Gospel of this Light would penetrate each language group and family of men and women around the world.

We are Carriers of the Light, charged with the same task as both created light and The Light of the World, Jesus Christ. It is for His fame and glory, and our full satisfaction in the Light that we would labor for this Light to be made manifest in all the world.

Then, the end will come. 

He said it Himself.

We have work to do, dear Light Bearers.

How will you help extend the Light to the Nations?

You matter because you are a Light Bearer.

You have the power within you to extend the grace of our loving God into all the world.

It is not a burden, though those lost in darkness is a great burden, indeed. It is not a burden as though we have a task list of things we must accomplish in our own efforts and die with our lives broken and wasted. No, we are the Light in us, powered and upheld by the Holy Spirit of God. We have Him in us, to bring power and satisfaction to us, so that He is magnified in us, and the world will see.

We extend the Light in many ways:

Prayer. Prayer for the nations that they would see the Glory and Magnificence of God! This would make worshippers of Him, fulfilling the search for those who would worship him.

Help. Give your money. Reach out to the needy in our land. Give to the work in the Dark places so that they will be well-equipped and won’t worry about finances. Know the agencies and people you could support. How can you use your money for the advancement of the Light in your city, your nation and around the world?

Get Informed. Know what is left. If you don’t know, you won’t know how to help. Study. Read. Take Perspectives. Be informed. To be ignorant of what is left to do for the Grace, for the Light to be taken to Nations who have not even the chance to know Him, is irresponsible.

Know that many nations have access to the Gospel. But there are many, many who don’t. How can you help change that?

This is our call. This is His Directive. His Name taken to the nations is His plan, not ours.

You matter because He has equipped you with Light in you.

How will you let it shine?

And when the end of the age comes, and we are all standing under the Tree, gazing at the wonder of the Light of God, He will illuminate the room and the sea of colorful faces, the sounds of a thousand languages, the wave of indescribable worship, will rest upon us and we will be completely fulfilled and satisfied as He is completely glorified.

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The Hebrew God I Choose

I’m an American.

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I am white.

I am a woman.

I am a Christian.

 

 

I am a product of Greek philosophy, but have chosen Hebrew theology.

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I no longer follow the way of my own desires. I have given up my American dreams.

This Hebrew God I have chosen to follow has a Way about Him that bumps and bullies my Greek philosophical ancestry in my way of doing life. My instinct is to run after things that make me happy, or make sense, or show I am successful and that I have made my way in the world. It crushes my need for individualism with a call that is inclusive and calls itself The Church.

Individual privileges are no longer the priority. There are others.

We call each other brothers and sisters.

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My ancient Greek influences make me want to know the why of everything and wants to know the next step, the next goal, what the next season will hold. My Hebrew God smiles and reminds me that I won’t know every reason, but I will know His Name. He tells me that the next step is just illuminated by His Word and that in faith I take a step. He teaches me that there is a season for everything, and it’s not what I get out of it exactly, but how much glory He receives in my worship, honor and faith in Him.

Makes Him sound selfish, doesn’t it?

Rubs against our “God loves me for me” mantra.

There is no higher god or person above this Ancient One who gets any glory or honor, there is only He. From the Beginning to the End, His greatest passion is His own Glory. His own Name.

His fame.

His Happiness, if you will.

sunI, in my Greek, individualistic, self-absorbed knowledge of how humans should feel find this unnerving, but… I have chosen to follow this God.

I don’t get to say who gets the glory.

I chose to say, “I follow this God and His Word and His Son and His Holy Spirit.”

I don’t then get to say my dreams and happiness come first.

I am a Greek philosopher who has chosen to adhere to a Hebrew theology.

Which one will bow to which?

jerusalem-475110_640Is logic all bad? Of course not. My Hebrew God says in His son are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and that I can have depth of insight in Him. But He also says that He is a mystery, a consuming fire, one that has higher ways than me. Logic cannot touch.

Can’t I be myself? Indeed. Beautiful personality made in the image of my Creator…placed in the family, the faces, the sea of other humans who have turned their face and their posture to this Hebrew God.

We are One.

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And we have purpose.

My Greek instinct is to find my own purpose. My Hebrew God says, “I AM and there is no other.” I must know His purpose.

It is His glory. 

There is no other purpose.

How? How do I fulfill that purpose?

That glory freed the Hebrew slaves of Egypt with plague and promise.

That glory fell in the wilderness on the tabernacle with Moses and the Israelites. It consumed the sacrifices and they fell to their faces.

That same glory fell on the temple of Solomon. Consuming sacrifice and they were undone, falling to the pavement with their faces to the floor, worshipping.

How do I bring glory to Glory?

I don’t.

I can’t.

He brings it to Himself…through me, in me, because of me, in spite of me.

That same Glory falls on me. In me. Consuming me.

He is Holy Spirit.

This Hebrew God needs not me to serve Him, though I want to. He needs nothing from me, other than my faith, my devotion, my worship. My yielding to His Indwelling.

Then He calls us. He calls us to take this Glory to the Nations. There is no other thing. There is no other purpose. This Glory brings salvation and full redemption. It brings with it hope and wholeness. Worship and honor of this great and mighty Hebrew God brings satisfaction and rest.

matchstick-20237_640So, I do what I can to see that happen. I pray for people I love. I pray for darkness to be pushed out of the lives and nations of the enemy. I pray that others go and then are protected, and unified, and rested, and more.

It is not just them to take the Glory to the nations. It is those of Us who work in the marketplace. Those of Us who sit at desks and look across our offices to those we know do not know the Glory.

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It is Us who hold babies and raise small humans. It is also Us who work late nights and early mornings. It is Us who work in the schools and hospitals. We hold the hands of the aged. We bring new humans into the world. We cry with the world. We gasp at the horror. We can be extremely lovely. We drink our coffee and sigh as we ponder our lives. We smile at strangers. We hold the unlovable. We give water. We give food. We visit the sick. We talk to those in prison. We drive our cars and pass you on the street.

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We are of The Way

Carriers of The Light

Revealers of The Glory.

We are frail. We are bold. We are united.

We are the nations going to the nations to reveal the great and holy Glory of this great and mighty Hebrew God. It is no small task. It cannot be all individualistic without a global unity. It cannot be a faceless mass of people either. We are called a Body for a reason. Individual parts working together to bring maximum health to ourselves and beauty to our Head, Jesus Christ.

To Him be the Glory through the ones who have said Yes.

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I Wanted Us to Suffer a Little, Then I Saw a Tree and Changed My Mind.

IMG_7399Just above me is a giant tree in our backyard. Growing up in Oklahoma the giant trees were few and far between, and were put on display at Christmas and people drove from miles around to take a look. Here, in Tennessee the trees are quite different. The rise so tall that you hurt your neck looking up for too long. They cover the landscape like a blanket and provide shelter and shade for everything below them.

Trunks so large it takes arms and arms to reach around.

treehugThey sway in the breeze and climb the hills together to display their gold and orange change every fall.

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They are wonderous.

There is a verse in Revelation that has been tucked in my heart for over a decade

On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

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I sit under that tree in my backyard many times a week. I look up at it and that verse runs through my mind as I stare at the thousands of leaves whispering over my head. “How are the leaves the healing of the nations?” I don’t know, but I do know scripture says it. I also know that is Psalm 1 a righteous man is compared to a tree by living water. And although Jesus said he is the root of the vine, why not be the root of the trees? Would that not be a stretch to think that the leaves are….us? 

Are we the leaves that are to be the healing of the nations?

He is healer, no doubt, but we are the messengers, the ambassadors, the one reliant on the root of the vine, where we are admonished to be “root and established in love.” Rooted. Roots that go down into someone who provides all we need for life. Roots so deep that when they are threatened, they cannot be uprooted, even when storms shake and whip the tops.

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What if when we are rooted and established in love, even though he slay us, we never stop trusting him? What if our roots were the only thing that kept us from dying in the worst of times? What if our roots in Christ, though we are pruned and changed, we grew stronger and more powerful as a whole collective?

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I wanted, for awhile, to be really upset with the Church, not a particular church (notice the capital “C”) but at the church of America. I was even thinking “Bring on persecution! It will only cause us to grow! We deserve a little tough times. We don’t know what persecution is! Let the storms come and cut us down a bit. Let the lightning strike and strip us of our pride!”

Angry

Bitter

Arrogant

Then I realized that the church of Acts, when persecuted was scattered. Scattered like ants when their little ant piles are messed with. Scattered like roaches when the lights come on. They, our first brothers and sisters, were forced out of homes and displaced by persecution. Much like what is happening even now to our brothers and sisters.

Then I looked at the tree and wondered, “So, what happened between the times of persecution?” What happened as they rebuilt their lives and started again? What did they do?”

 

They grew.

treepathShe discipled. She spread the gospel. She took care of her own. She fed the poor and took care of the sick. She supplied food and money to missionaries and housed them when they returned. She prayed for each other and encouraged them in Christ. She met for communion and eating, and I’m sure, laughter and tears.

She healed nations.

Now, we sit in a nation, one that is sick and dying, and I’ve wanted the Church of America to feel the pain our brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing, but have realized what an awful thing that is. I only meant it like how we talk to our kids “When I was your age!” as though our experiences might make them different. I wanted the experiences of others who were persecuted to guilt the American church into feeling bad about herself, and maybe even wanted us to “suffer” a little more and grow up.

There might be some truth in that. We have a tendency to be spoiled. Our freedom has made us comfortable and we can easily miss the suffering around the world, but that’s not true for all of us.

Obviously

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We have more than a great opportunity here. We have a great gift, obligation, responsibilty as the Church to be the turning tide of our Nation, and to be the ones who fund other other nations to take care of the displaced, the refugee, the poor, the homeless, the persecuted. We, as millions of believers in Jesus, have the time, resources, technology, and freedom to be those healing leaves, not only to the world, but to ourselves, to our neighbors, to our politicians, to our enemies.

No more do I say, “Bring on the persecution and watch us scatter!” No, I say,

Bring on the Holy Spirit and watch us explode!

I pray the prayer of the founding Church,

“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant, Jesus.”

And I pray, that through our unity, the same thing will happen among us:

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

We still live in a free country. We still have the freedom to pray and gather and stand up in boldness. Not in anger, not out of guilt, but in a great unity of believers, full of love and hope and faith, so that we will be filled with the Spirit to expand the kingdom. While we are in this freedom, let us not squander it. I pray we take advantage of it.

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And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Rev. 22

 

Why I Watched Him Die

Squaready20150206181548It popped up in my Twitter feed. I had heard about it all week and even read just a bit on the situation, but this link, this click, took me to the video.

I clicked on the play triangle. 22 some odd minutes appeared at the top. 22? Twenty-two minutes of this?

I sat on my piano bench and turned down the volume. I didn’t want to hear it.

I grabbed the little dot with my left index finger and moved the time line down to around 5 min. My heart rate increased. My stomach began to fill with anxiety. I knew what was coming. I let the seconds tick on.

The cage. One man standing in it in an orange uniform. Some distance away, another man, outside the cage stood facing him holding a torch.

Dear God, no. This can’t be real. It’s a reenactment. Surely, this clean, edited version complete with transitions and HD video capability isn’t the real thing.

I wanted that to be the case.

4 min.

The man outside the cage lit the torch and stooped over to light the wet line on the ground. It ignited and it sprinted to the man in the cage, covering him in seconds. His initial reaction was pathetic, like a child. Then, he put his hands over his eyes and left them there as the fire overwhelmed him.

The next moments were the ones I wanted to scream, vomit, beat someone to death because of what I was seeing.

Horrific.
Terrifying.
Evil and sadistic.

Thank God I had my volume down.

Why did I keep watching? I hit pause and stared out the window. My kids were running by me and someone was watching cartoons.

Play.

God!

He fell on his knees. His face. Oh Jesus. He fell over. A bulldozer came and poured concrete on the cage, putting out the fire and putting out the terror.

The screen stopped. It was over.

I rallied myself and told my family, “Hey. I’m going to take a walk! Be riiiiight back.”

That video is like porn. It will never, ever leave my conscious. It will forever be an image in my mind. A running video that will for sure pop in at the most unexpected times of life and at the least appreciated moments. I will hate it forever.

But, unlike the smut I’ve seen in my life, I don’t want it to go away. Sounds awful, right? But here’s why:

That image I now have in my mind is nothing new in this world. What happened to that young man is not the new thing our enemy is doing. They’ve always been doing it. What I witnessed, and nearly couldn’t stomach, is not something we should turn our eyes from. This is our enemy. And this is what they do, what he does. What these men did is our spiritual enemy’s agenda made manifest in their lives. What we witnessed is what our enemy would do to every one of us if he had the chance.

So, when the video was over, I got my shoes on, hit the pavement, and began blasting the heavens with prayer.

This image should push us to our knees. This image, this video, is one of the representations of not only a real enemy to our country, to our beliefs, but a spiritual enemy to all who call Christ King. An image like that will cause you to suck in air, bug out your eyes, and tempt you to cover your ears and scream, “NO! I will not see it!”

And I understand.

But, listen to me, that kind of torture, destruction, agony and evil is who we are up against. You think ISIS is bad? You think those guys have anything on our spiritual enemy?

We need to think again.

And we, the Church, need to wake up and get to battle. 

I prayed, not only for that young man’s family, (Dear God! Be close), but I also prayed that ISIS, and the men and women like them, would feel the wrath of God on behalf of His beloved. I want that. My flesh, my defense for mankind wants them to be wiped out.

But…. my prayer changed because I know a God who made a deadly decision to send His son in this world for crazy losers like that (like me). I do not want any man or woman to go to hell. I don’t wish the pain of our spiritual enemy on anyone, not even those men. I want more than anything for that man, holding the torch, the one who filmed it, the guys standing around, to know and face the one true God, repent in fear and trembling, and be made new in Jesus.

Impossible for us.

Not impossible for God.

I began to pray that God would send irritating and beautiful visions and dreams that would send those members (and the others like them) to a place of wild tantrums because they can’t get them out of their minds. I asked Him to send them visions of Jesus, much like what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus. I asked that He would do the impossible! And then I asked that He would provide a way for those Believers, who I know are there, to come face to face with those who have had the visions and dreams and explain to them what they saw and show them the One and Only True God.

A video like that, with all it’s horror, with all it’s disgusting violent content, did not make me shy away in fear, but it made me rise up in prayer! I can’t go to Iraq and try to reach ISIS with the Gospel. But I, a small, white Gentile in America, can use the power of prayer to ask for the impossible and the miraculous! Those men can’t stop me praying and calling out to my God for His wild love to bug the literal hell out of them! They can’t keep us quiet! They can’t stop us from crying out to God for Him to break the darkness and shatter the enemy!

While I am here, I will use the freedoms I have and spend my spirit on behalf of others. We are called to be the light of the world, to go and make disciples, to pray for our enemies, to listen to the Spirit, to know God’s will, and to fight.

If you can’t stomach the video, I understand. But don’t let something that you can’t handle deter you from facing the realities of this world.

Pray.
Get angry.
Use that anger to become a fighting force of God in Spirit and in truth.

Because…

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Eph. 6

The “Be still and know that I am God” verse…and the part we overlook.

IMG_5414I like God. I mean I really like God. And, I like what the church teaches about God when it comes to me and my feelings. I like knowing He is good and kind and will give me peace. I love to feel His presence and know that He sees me and lives in me. I really, really like that about God.

I like knowing I’m saved and will live forever with Him. I like knowing I’m blessed and have the promises of God at my disposal. I like being called a daugher of a King and a chosen one. I like knowing Jesus is my Savior and my brother and that we already sit with Him in heaven. I really like knowing that this body will one day be awesome.

I love the idea of having God given dreams and goals. Good ideas. I like seeing people help other people who need it; hungry, lonely, old, rejected. I like seeing them know that Jesus loves them and died for them.

I like knowing I can pray to God anytime, anywhere, and I like knowing He hears me at all times. It’s like when my little kids come to me, I know they want something and I love that. It’s the same with God, and that makes me happy. I like knowing He will give me wisdom when I ask for it, and grow my faith. I like knowing He is a God of compassion and holiness.

All that makes me feel good, safe, protected.

All of those wonderful things, promised and real, are the most predominant thoughts in my life, and yet, there is a danger in that.

WHAT? What, you say?

Do you like this verse? “Be still and know that I am God;”?

I do. How many times have you heard that in context of needing peace or comfort? How many times has it been preached for when you need to calm down and reflect? How many times have you (and I) used it to get a grip or force ourselves to think about God and not ourselves (which is impossible, by the way. We cannot think of God and not think of ourselves, but that’s a different post.)

I mean, it says “Be still and know that I am God;” but there is more. There’s even a semi-colon at the end of that phrase indicating, “Hey, there’s more here. Keep reading.” But how many placards, posters, pictures, cards, Instagrams, Facebook posts do we just see the “Be still and know that I am God”? And man, we like that. The feeling that comes over us, and we sigh, and smile and keep going.

But what comes after that semi-colon? Do you know? Here, let me show you…Psalm 46:10 (the whole verse)

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The words, “Be still” don’t really mean, “Hey, calm down, breathe in deep, look at the sky and think about how God is God or how good He is to you.” Those words indicate, “Enough!” or “Stop!”. They also mean “to sink, to drop, relax, sink down, be disheartened” and know.

In other words, this isn’t a verse for us to say over and over in our heads so we can bring our heart rate down and hope to God our day goes better. This is a verse with much more powerful implications and more of a wake up call to God and His purposes, rather than a call for us to calm down and take a breather. It is His own words calling out that our enemies will be silenced and know He is God. It is His own words calling out to His people to stop and sink into His greatness in the world. To realize and feel the weight of this thing of global glorification. It is a heavy, awesome, and powerful thing.

When God says, “Be still, Enough! Stop! and know that I am God” and then says, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth”, I don’t see anything that has to do with me getting a word from God, or a peaceful sensation coming over me that everything will be okay. I also do not see that verse having really anything to do with me… or us. I see that is has everything to do with God, and His declaration of Himself. It is a call to sink down in ourselves and know that He is the world-saving, all-knees-will-bow God. A call not to stop and sigh and reflect on what God means to us, but a call to stop and contemplate and understand what God means to the world and what He will expect from it.

In our self-centered, modern day, Americanized church, we have fashioned a culture around the wonderful and powerful things of God that make us feel good about ourselves.

We even take verses out of context and make them pacifiers. God is not a pacifier, He is a mighty, powerful, wrathful, you’re-saved-by-my-Son God!

He is a satisfier, on His terms, and for His glory. 

This Gospel promises peace, yes, but that does not mean we have carefree lives. (this makes us squeamish).

This Gospel promises that I will be filled with the Spirit of Christ, but not just for my introspection and calculated goals of trying to be like Christ (but, we have crap to fix, I know, except we can’t fix them, and around we go.)

This Gospel promises that He is great things planned for us, but only when it has to do with the expansion of His Kingdom (we kinda miss this and call it dreams).

This Gospel comes with the Spirit of God, given to us for the task of making disciples. Oh! The wonder that comes with His Spirit is beyond our comprehension, but not beyond our interaction and grasp! But, He is not for us to just feel okay and sane. He is in us for His name’s sake. He doesn’t change us for just our own satisfaction (though, that is amazing!), but He changes us for His glorification, for His name’s sake.

His name’s sake.

His.

And His alone.

We must wake up as a church, stop stuffing ourselves with self-helps and fattening ourselves on what makes us feel good. Only Christ can do that, but it comes with a calling, a command. It comes with the charge of taking Christ to the nations. It’s not a good idea, it’s His idea, His plan, His goal… and it will happen.

“Be still. (Enough! stop! Feel the weight. Know.) that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

Do you read it a little different now? Me too. And I like it.
Now, what do we do about it?
What do I do about it? Still working on that, and I like that too.