Tag: Be still

Resting in Confident Expectation

This article originally appeared in The Proclaimer newsletter for Tom Edwards Evangelistic Society, Inc.

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By Tom Edwards, Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinator

“Be still and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” (Ps 46:11)

The verse above is taken from a Psalm that begins by speaking of an earth that is being shaken, waters roaring, mountains quaking nations raging, kingdoms tottering. It is a picture of chaos and confusion and would certainly find an application for our world in the present moment. Yet, the Psalm is a song of confidence in the absolute sovereignty of a God who provides security in the midst of chaos and peace in the times of confusion.

The command to “be still” is an imperative, a translation of a Hebrew word meaning to be weak, to let go, to cause yourself to release your grip.

As the Israelites stood at the edge of the Red Sea with the waters before them and the enemy pressing in behind them, Moses said: “Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today. The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still” (Ex 14:13a, 14). Again, when Joshua was leading the people into the promised land, it was necessary to cross the Jordan River—which was raging at ultimate flood stage. The priestly bearers of the Ark waded into the river and the waters flowing from upstream halted, backing up in a solid mass for a very great distance. As all Israel crossed over on dry ground, the priests bearing the ark stood motionless on dry ground in the bed of the Jordan. The were completely “still” until the whole nation had passage (Jo 2:14-17).

The concept of “being still” does not necessarily imply that one is to be immobile. But it does mean that in times of trial and trouble, in times when burdens are overwhelming, when circumstances are beyond control, then step back—take your hands off—and relax! It’s time to wait upon God. Someone once said “He who waits on God loses no time.”

Note that the command to “be still” is linked to the command “and know.” Indeed there is no experiential “knowing” until one becomes “still.” Knowing is not just an intellectual assent to God, but rather a practical spiritual and emotional confidence in He who is your God! He is the ruler of all the kingdoms of this earth and beyond. He is the almighty Creator and ruler of the universe. He is the Lord of our minutest care and our most complex quandaries. We surrender to He who is our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in time of trouble. We acknowledge Him as the ultimate source of all healing. We relinquish our trust in self and abandon our own clever designs so that we might come to know the all-sufficiency of a glorious God.

This does not mean that we shirk our responsibility or that we cease to take the initiative to live out the duties of life. The Lord expects us to utilize the gifts and talents He has given us to full measure. However, personal initiative will never be an adequate substitute for reliance upon God.

The life of a Christian involves what might sound like a contradiction: “active rest.” We find the “still place” in Him and our labors flow out of that rest. We also must be cautious not to fall into the trap of “presumption”:

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”—you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.” But now you are boasting in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin. (Jas 4:13-17)

Yes, life will have its battles. King David had to slay many giants after his youthful encounter with Goliath. David lost some of his battles, especially when yielding to temptations of the flesh that entangled him in a downward spiral of deadly sins. Yet, in the end he was found to be a man after the heart of God—”the apple of God’s eye.” How did he do it? The answer to that question certainly lies in the sincere repentance that enabled him to pen the following immortal words while resting in confident expectation:

“The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name. Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage. You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.” (Ps 23)

‘Be Still and Know He is God’

Be still
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Ralph Martin gave the following prophetic reflection in Rome for the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. His talk followed ones by Patti Mansfield and Dave Mangan.

Be still and know that He is God.

God is here. The God that Patti and Dave are speaking about is here, now.

He’s right next to you, right in you. It doesn’t matter where you are sitting. It doesn’t matter whether you’re thirsty. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hot and sweaty.

He is here.

God is here.

He wants to do in our souls, and He wants to do in our hearts, what He most loves to do.

He loves to invite us to repentance. He wants to give more of Himself to us. He is asking us to let go of things we may be holding on to that are blocking His love in our life.

We should be asking ourselves, “What should we do?” Because we’re not just celebrating something from the past. We are telling the story of One who is still present.

God is here now, wanting to do what He did in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost and the Ark and the Dove (the retreat house in Pennsylvania where the Catholic Charismatic Renewal began). Ask the same question they asked of Peter on the day of Pentecost: “What shall we do?”

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus.

We know from the Acts of the Apostles, the gift of the Holy Spirit isn’t just a one-time gift. When the apostles were facing persecution, they prayed for more of the Holy Spirit. We are facing difficulty and persecution all over the world. We need more of the Holy Spirit.

When Timothy got lukewarm in his ministry, Paul said, “Stir up the fire I gave you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Tm 1:6). That gift is meant to be stirred up. For some of us, maybe it’s gotten lukewarm. Some of us here maybe don’t even know why we’re here tonight. We heard of big things happening, and we’re curious.

What’s happening here tonight is the action of God being made visible in this most amazing gathering of people from 127 different countries, who have sacrificed to be here as witnesses, out of love for God.

Everybody here is a witness!

Everybody here is a witness to the action of God.

In a few minutes, we’re going to pray for more of the Holy Spirit. We need to prepare ourselves to do what Peter asked us to do on the day of Pentecost.

There’s lots of distraction. There’s lots of very wonderful excitement. There’s lots of wonderful celebration.

But God is here. The God that Patti and Dave were speaking about is here. Now.

He’s right next to you. He’s in you. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to convict us of ways in which we can have courage to be witnesses. It’s only because of the Holy Spirit that anybody can say that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every knee will bend and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

To anyone here who hasn’t surrendered their life to Jesus Christ, Jesus Himself is here, and He is speaking to you. He’s loving you, and He’s urging you, and He’s hungry for you to accept His love.

I’m going to close with something that Jesus said through the Holy Spirit to one of the first Christian communities: “I am the first and the last. I was dead, but now I’m alive. Behold, I am alive for ever and ever” (Rev 1: 17-18).

Jesus is alive forever and ever! He’s here tonight. He’s ready to heal. He’s ready to pour out the Holy Spirit. He’s ready to forgive sin. He’s ready to pour out His heart!

Let’s open our hearts to God!