Source: Settling Down without Settling
Recently, I went to a doctors appointment in St. Louis. My mom and I went on Election Day so thankfully there weren’t a whole lot of people on the road. We were able to get there an hour ahead of schedule and we walked at the mall and had our usual Starbucks. The doctors visits were typical, but ultimately I had a good report. Everything is stable for now, they are still keeping an eye on me.
About a year ago, I had my first visit to the transplant doctors. I had a good friend that lived up in St. Louis at the time and she was willing to help me out. Later I find out that she is not very fond of hospitals, needles, blood…any of that, but she still held my hand and looked out the window saying, “Look at the pretty buildings!” She is also one awesome…
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In Springfield, Missouri, you would be hard-pressed to find a corner without a church. When the unchurched adults have had historically bad experiences with churches, it can be difficult to bring them in. This called for creative thinking on the part of Abundant Life Church.
They tried many different evangelism approaches and had some small successes. But ALC began to notice a spike in attendance for children’s events. They decided to offer rides to kids who wanted to come to VBS.
“We were getting kids whose parents both worked the night shift so they had nothing to do all day. These kids were hungry: sometimes both physically and spiritually. If we would give them a ride then they would come to church.”
Ed Gibson, one of the visionaries of the AL Kids Bus Ministry saw the need in the lives of these children and wanted the Bus Ministry needed to be a permanent…
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I heard a pastor one time explain the intimacy of the Holy Spirit by comparing it to the air we breathe. Air–the very commodity we need to survive, a life-force that infuses into our body every moment of the day. What substance comes closer to our bodies than our own breath? How long can you survive without it? The first time I heard the concept explained in that way, I remember at that moment a consciousness of my breathing. Gradually, it slowed. It deepened. I could hear as the unhurried oxygen began to fill my lungs and clear my head. Then, the faint rush of carbon dioxide as it drained from my body.
In yoga, t’ai-chi, or any meditation-based exercise, good instructors teach their students to focus and control their breathing. This process requires an incredible amount of mental and physical energy; one must completely force the mind and body to relax in order to control it. It’s an interesting concept: to rest or relax, one must choose to do so. It takes energy, effort, and a willingness of mind. In all honesty, learning to CHOOSE to relax takes serious practice on my part. Sometimes I have to verbally say out loud, “Bekah, it’s time. It’s time to shut up and listen.” For me, resting rarely means to stop speaking; I can do that without much effort (contrary to what some might think). Instead, it’s a compliance to turn off my thoughts and focus on His.
I’ve had this word, this concept, poking at my heart for some time. With so much going on ALL THE TIME (can I get an amen?), something as simple as my own breathing ends up forgotten. The closeness, the realness, the majesty of God gets lost in noise.
This morning at 7 a.m. prayer group (yes, I’ve been going despite the serious temptation to stay in the nice, warm bed on spring break holiday), my dad spoke directly about waiting on the Lord; “ellipsis,” as he called it. In the Greek, the idea is Qavah (Yachal), which translates to “wait for, expect, hope.” That waiting, or focused meditation through clearness of mind, requires a sacrifice of my own thoughts and agenda. It also adds an element of hopeful expectation that God’s ways, thank the Lord, are higher than my own. Praying is a beautiful fusion of letting my requests known to God, then sitting back to wait patiently and listen for a response. It’s a relationship! A conversation, a communication between two loving beings.
Dad said it this morning: “God always has the answer; the only way I fail as a child of God is if I stop praying (and waiting) about a circumstance.”
In the Bible, this concept is sometimes referred to as Selah. The word appears 74 times in the Bible. Throughout a number of his Psalms, David provides a chance for readers to Selah. Scholars have argued about the actual translation of the word. According to my trustee source Wikipedia, some translate the word “stop and listen,” others think it means to “pause and think of that.” Selah is used in some Psalms to indicate a musical interlude (being a musical person, I especially like this idea). Alternatively, Selah may mean “forever” or “always.”
Many times, David wrote about waiting on the Lord, and ended or paused the Psalm with Selah. King David stands as one of my all-time favorite people in the Bible; he’s relatable, even though he lived so long ago. I can imagine David, sitting in his awesome library writing these Psalms, but getting distracted by his kingly duties. Selah, he says. Selah, David. Selah. Stop. Wait. Pause. Think. Rest. Cease. Listen.
This blog is meant to be my Selah. I sometimes feel the desperate need to write down my thoughts, usually my devotions. Sometimes I feel a sense of claustrophobia because the words inside me NEED to come out :). This can be read my millions, or by no one but me–the purpose here is not to impress or perform, but simply to free the words from within. Many times I will be in the mood to write during or after my quiet time with God, but sometimes I just want to write about life, exciting personal testimonies, or the every day world. Regardless, I want this to be a channel, an extension if you will, of how God operates in my life.
Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 27:14, Habakkuk 3
So, welcome to the blogging world, Bek.
(photo credit: psalmbird.net)