Be Still & Know That He Is God…

Tree In Water (4-21-15)

Isaiah 46:3-10 (please click HERE) is a POWERFUL passage in the Bible that God is using in my life these days. I feel almost magnetically drawn–emotionally, spiritually and mentally–to these eight verses and I want to share with you what God is teaching me through them…

Many times we look at the thousand+ pages in the Bible and we simply don’t know where to start, we simply don’t know what to start reading! Well, THIS is a Bible passage to chew on, to read every day for a month–just focus on these eight verses and see how God uses them to bring you closer to Him! 🙂 It would take you literally 60 seconds to read this (2 commercials on t.v.). Read it right after you wake up and right after you go to bed for a month, 2 minutes per day, asking God to help you believe it, enjoy it, understand it, put it into practice, cling to it, etc.

God is using these Bible verses (and others!) in my life, reminding me that HE is God, and there is none other than Him. Even with certain prayers of mine that are going “unanswered,” even with situations in my life over the past 2.5 years where I am not seeing any positive change, where I am not seeing any “progress,” even with challenges (that I have faced for years) that aren’t seeming to go away, the LORD Almighty is using this passage to remind me that HE is behind the wheel of my life and so I can learn to rest in that…

Isaiah 46:3-10 (Bible verses are in bold, my thoughts are not):

“Listen to Me…

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[The word “listen” appears 412x in the Bible. Wow. Must be important to God that we listen! We usually only tell someone to listen when they are not, and so God consistently reminds us in the Bible to listen to Him because we often don’t, we often get distracted by the noise of life. But we can only listen to Him when we stop talking, when we stop broadcasting our own opinions so we can learn God’s Truth/perspective. We can sometimes only notice God moving when WE stop moving for a while—“Be STILL and KNOW that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). We often think we are sharks—“if I stop moving I’ll die!” We aren’t sharks but sheep: if we don’t learn to stop moving we’ll never truly live.

Spiritually, we are on the teacup ride at DisneyWorld. We are in reality, but we aren’t seeing/experiencing reality accurately—it is a blur, we are nauseous, we’re either hanging on for dear life wanting it to stop or spinning the wheel in the middle wanting it to spin faster! Even if we are able to get off the ride for a little while [i.e. slow down], our reality is still spinning and we stagger/stumble around.

THIS is often why, when we try to be still and focus on God, when we try to pray for longer than 30 seconds, when we try to read the Bible, we get bored/it doesn’t “work”/we don’t seem to accomplish anything. We are still dizzy from the ride! If I go to an amusement park I am physically nauseous for 24 hours after I leave the park! But when our spiritual nausea doesn’t go away quickly when we slow down to be with God, we often throw up our hands [not our lunches!] and say, “Well, that didn’t work!” And we get back on the ride joyfully or reluctantly.

My point is, learning to slow down and quietly listen to God, focus on God, be with God, this is LEARNED…it takes time to get better at. But we must practice it, we must learn, or we simply will only get blurs of God.

Question: What do you HAVE to do to fill your car up with gasoline, the fuel it needs to operate?

You have to park the car and turn off the engine! That is the only way! Imagine trying to refuel your car as you drive it!!! 🙂 The same is true with us spiritually, to learn to see God clearly, to learn to listen to what He has to say to us and to soak in the Truth that HE alone is God, and there is none like Him. We simply must make the choice to put ourselves in park and turn off our engines, for moments, minutes, and more…

You might say, “But I’m not good at that, I’ve tried and it’s just not me!” Friends, if God asks us to do something—ANYTHING—in the Bible, you can rest assured that NO HUMAN is naturally good at that activity! None of us in our own strength can do anything that God asks us—that’s why Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing!” It is only by God’s grace and His transformation that we can do anything that He asks of us. Many of us love stories of the four year old who started playing piano and a few weeks later began writing symphonies. But it simply doesn’t work that way spiritually. We need God both to get to heaven and on every step of the journey there; we need to practice with HIM as our Master and we as His apprentices.]

 

…you descendants of Jacob,


all the remnant of the people of Israel,


you whom I have upheld since your birth,


[PAST TENSE—God is reminding them that He has been the one to get them through EVERY SINGLE difficult challenge in life that they have faced; remembering what God has done for us in the past helps us to continue to trust in and follow Him in the present. What has God brought you through in your life up to now? Why do we allow ourselves to think He will abandon us today when He has never abandoned us before?]

and have carried since you were born.

[like a soldier carrying another wounded soldier on his back—God has done this for us our entire lives, and not because we deserve it.

I love this next section of this passage as God dances beautifully between the past and the future; He is encouraging and inviting us to continue to trust in Him and follow Him in the present by reminding us of what He has done for us in the past and what He promises to do for us in the future. Again and again in our present trials God is calling us to focus on HIM, on God Who has been extravagantly faithful in the past and GUARANTEES that He will continue to be faithful to us in the future…The only present tense in the next verse is God Himself—GOD IS! This is just like the hero in action movies who says, when a person is dangling off the ledge of a 100 story building, “Don’t look down–keep your eyes on ME!” God tells us the same…]

 

Even to your old age and gray hairs [FUTURE TENSE]

I am he, [PRESENT TENSE]

I am he who will sustain you. [FUTURE TENSE]

I have made you [PAST TENSE]

and I will carry you; [FUTURE TENSE]

I will sustain you and I will rescue you. [FUTURE TENSE]

Past, present and future, no matter what we go through God has it covered!!! He is the ever-present “Is”! That’s why in Exodus God reveals Himself as the Great “I am”! YES!!!

 

“With whom will you compare Me or count me equal?


To whom will you liken Me that we may be compared?

God is unprecedented. There is no one like Him, and it’s not even close. If we could truly believe that then we would stop investing so much time gulping the saltwater of this world and more time drinking deeply from the life-giving water that Jesus offers to truly refresh and satisfy and quench us. If we believed that knowing Jesus deeply would make us more happy than having a physically fit body, maybe then we would spend more time in prayer and Bible reading and less time at the gym…

 

Some pour out gold from their bags
and weigh out silver on the scales;


they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
and they bow down and worship it.

 

They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;


they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
    

From that spot it cannot move.


Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;
    

it cannot save them from their troubles.

[None of the “sugar substitutes” that we chase and cling to instead of God will ever truly satisfy us. When the rains come, our sugary boats will dissolve and leave us stranded in the ocean, our styrofoam crutches look great until we try to lean all our weight on them and they collapse. No disrespect to Dwayne Johnson, but

-only Jesus is the Rock (Luke 6:47-49–please click HERE),
-all who call on Jesus will be saved (Acts 2:21–HERE),
-none who call on Jesus will be put to shame (Romans 10:9-11–HERE),
-Jesus is the ONLY name under heaven by which humans can be
forgiven, reborn, and transformed (Acts 4:12–HERE).]
.

“Remember this,

keep it in mind,
    

take it to heart, you rebels.

[Don’t forget this, because it will be easy to forget;

keep this Truth in your minds—where you think/analyze;

keep this Truth in your hearts—where you feel and believe and choose.

God is inviting us to let His Truth fill us completely at every level of our being/existence,

not just a light mist on our petals but soaking deeply into the soil of our lives

where He can nourish and refresh us at our roots.]

 

Remember the former things, those of long ago;

I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me.

 

[“Newer” isn’t always better; the “latest” isn’t always the best.
Remember the words of the Bible, inspired by God thousands of years ago
yet powerfully relevant for all people in all situations in all cultures today.

We need to look not for the newest slogan but the oldest Source—God’s Word.

Though it doesn’t LOOK like Spring,

Though it doesn’t FEEL like Spring,

It IS Spring…the calendar says so…

…Similarly,

though it might not LOOK like God is real and good,

though it might not FEEL like God is real and good,

He IS real and good—His Word says so.

“I am God—there is none like Me.”

 

Like Alex Honnold—the rock climber who climbs without ropes, without safety gear, 2,000 feet up in the air for hours and hours where ONE mistake will cost him his life.

He did something no other human has ever done—free-soloed El Capitan at Yellowstone National Park. About 1,500 feet up after hours of climbing with 500 feet left, he started to freak out mentally. He actually got scared of where he was, what he was doing, and what he had left to do (he couldn’t go back down or call out for rescue!). So he stood for a few minutes quietly on a ledge about inches long and gathered his thoughts and mentally regained the strength to keep going.

THAT IS EXACTLY what God wants to do for us in this passage and in others throughout the Bible: get us focusing NOT on how far the drop is and NOT on all that we have to do in the future but focused on HIM—all He has done for, all He promises to do for us, and HIS UNIQUE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE GOD, to be totally trustworthy, to be fully powerful, to be completely loving towards us. WE SIMPLY MUST LEARN TO PAUSE and stand on the ledge of whatever mountain we are facing and focus on HIM—He is God, and there is no other, HE is God, and there is NONE like Him…

 

10 I make known the end from the beginning,

from ancient times,

what is still to come.


 

I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    

and I will do all that I please.’

 

[And what are God’s purposes?

-To enlarge His family and forgive us, if we will accept Him,

-to transform us, if we will follow Him,

-to help us know Him deeply and Personally, if we will seek Him,

-to help us have many of his qualities, if we want them,

-to help us to represent Him on earth, to take us, a rock like the moon, and shine magnificently through us in the darkest nights. Those are God’s purposes for our lives, and His purposes are WAY better than my own dreams for me—BIG T.V., surround sound, lots of channels, lots of time, and lots of soda & junk food. God’s like, “HA! Don’t be satisfied with THAT…be satisfied with ME!”]

Video Song: “Be Still & Know” by Stephen Curtis Chapman (HERE)

No Jesus, No Life

Know Jesus, Know Life…

(1 John 5:11-13–HERE)