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Peace Amidst Stormy Weather

Last week I was able to spend five days on the Oregon coast celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary. Our first day there we woke up to the rain falling sideways in the wind. We bundled up in our warm rain gear to take a short walk on the beach. By the time we got back to our cabin we were soaking wet. Like everything we wore needed to be rung out. The next day we woke up to calmer weather. The rain had stopped, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds throughout the day and the temps had risen. We spent most of the day on the beach wandering through the tide pools.

Zechariah 10:1 says, “Ask the Lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.” It is the Lord who controls the weather. It is He who knows how important it is for storms to blow into our lives. The winds make us stronger as we push forward into them. The rain soaks us to replenish us. It does this so that we can face the bright sunshine of a new and beautiful day a stronger person. A person who has weathered the storm while leaning on the true anchor – their Lord God.

This quote reminded me of the stormy day we spent on the beach: “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is not noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”


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Prompt Obedience

This morning I came across the story of the offering of Isaac in Genesis 22. If you are unfamiliar with this story please read through the chapter. In a nutshell, God tested Abraham by telling him, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you” (verse 2). I know this is a tough one on us parents. How could God ask Abraham to do this to his son? The son that God promised a great nation was going to come from.

Abraham did what I’m sure I’d have trouble doing in this situation. He obeyed God without question, So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him” (verse 3). 

I admit that I am convicted by my lack of prompt obedience when I read this chapter. Abraham’s life was characterized by his faith in God by evidence of his obedience in not only this chapter but in Genesis 12:1-4 and 17:23. There have been times in my life where I felt called to do something but refused to move forward out of fear. Fear of the unknown, rejection or what God might ask me to experience. I have one example that has changed my life because of my lack of prompt obedience.

I once knew a woman who was suffering from lung cancer. I remember sitting and talking to her about what she was going through one day after church and got the impression that she felt like she was alone. She was supported by her family and church family but not by anyone who really knew what she was going through. I gave her my number and said I’d love to walk alongside her while she was going through this.

I distinctly remember leaving that conversation with a thought that I needed to start a cancer support group. I immediately dismissed it thinking I was not capable of leading that kind of group. Within the next month five more women I knew were diagnosed with cancer and each time the thought of starting a support group kept popping into my head. Each time I dismissed it because of the fear of what it would lead to. A few months later the sweet lady with lung cancer passed away. We weren’t able to touch basis and I was unable to offer any kind of support. The guilt I felt was great because I knew had I promptly obeyed God’s first calling to start a group, that she might have had the extra support she needed before she passed away.

Her death was a wake up call. I started to pray over what I felt God was calling me to do which eventually lead to me starting a cancer support group. A group that will be celebrating its 5th birthday this month. I may not have felt fully equipped to start this group but God has certainly equipped me along the way. I just needed to step out in faith and let Him do the rest like He has.

I won’t beat myself up over not obeying God right away. I want it to serve as a reminder to me how vital it is to obey. I will leave you with Charles Spurgeon’s thought on Abraham’s prompt obedience, “WHAT WAS ABRAHAM’S SPECIAL EXPERIENCE, which led to his becoming so remarkable a saint? The secret lies in three things: he had a call, he obeyed it, and he obeyed it because he had faith.”

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Welcome to 2018!

I find it hard to believe another year has come and gone. We’ve done a lot on the Stillness blog. We’ve read through the bible in two years. We’ve also memorized the Beatitudes which means we’ve memorized another larger portion of scripture.

My goal for the Stillness blog is that we learn to make the Lord part of our daily lives. I want us to go beyond just reading someone’s devotional thought (even my own) to digging into the Word on our own. I feel that reading the bible daily, memorizing scripture and prayer are vital to our spiritual health and growth.

Over the years we’ve been reading through the whole bible. Some years we’ve taken only a quick year to get through the bible while other years we’ve taken two to three years. I’ll be the first to congratulate you on your daily bible reading if you’ve stuck with it these past two years with us. This year we’ll be reading through the bible chronologically. I’ll provide the new reading plan on the right hand side of the blog. If this is a plan doesn’t work for you than by all means feel free to find one that fits your needs. My goal isn’t that you stick with us but that you read your bible on a daily basis.

Memorizing scripture is not easy for me. I struggle with it and find it to be a challenge. Even though this is true for me I still think it is important to work on memorizing scripture. There will be a time in our lives that we may not have a physical bible to read and will have to rely upon what we’ve motorized. This year we’ll be memorizing John 15:1-11. I realize this is one verse shy of a year but I think we’ll be okay. I know December is a difficult month for many so we’ll just take the time to review the whole passage next December.

I pray that the Lord will lead you into this new year with new insights from what you learned from last year. That you won’t look back with regret that clings to your future. To know that mistakes happen but repenting and forgiveness releases you from them. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

I’m looking forward to spending another year with you!

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Golden Nuggets from Titus

I just recently read through the book of Titus. I can tell you it is chalked full of really REALLY good information or what I call “Golden Nuggets”.

Paul reminds us of several things in his letter to Titus:

Elders/Overseers: These men must be above reproach and must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:7-9).

Older Men & Women: But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:1-5). I personally fit into this category and need to be reminded about how important it is to speak into the lives of others. 

Younger Men & Women: Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:6-8). This reminds me of how important it is for young people to model good works, have integrity, dignity and sound speech. What you do in your youth affects your whole life even if you don’t think it will. 

Workers: Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:9-10). I understand we no longer have Bondservants but we can defiantly put this to practice in the workplace.

How we should act: Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2). “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:8-11).

The verses that really stood out to me where about what God did for us and why we should act according to what He says:

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

Take the time today to read through the book of Titus. It isn’t long but again, is chalked full of golden nuggets for us to glean from.

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No Other Name

This morning as I read through this chapter in Acts I came across a verse that I know is the truth – that there is no other way to eternal life but through Jesus. This is not a popular idea today as people are choosing to find their way to heaven through every “spiritual” avenue but the one true way.

Jesus Himself said,I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Acts 10:43 says,  To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

I Timothy 2:3-6 says, This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

No other person in history did what Jesus did for us. No other person in history could have done what Jesus did. Do not be deceived by today’s “spiritual” practices that mislead you into thinking you can obtain eternal life through yourself or anyone but Jesus.

If you don’t know Jesus and would like to know what He did for you I encourage you to go to read through the verses in the Want to Know Jesus section. Read for yourself  why we believe that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

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“Bears our Burdens”

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19

Are you heavy burdened today? I want to encourage you and let you know that the Lord God is right by your side ready to help bear your burden for you. Jesus told us to come to Him, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

If you are weighted down by a heavy burden I pray that you will immediately turn to the Lord and allow Him to bear it for you.

Krista Jones – 9.18.17

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Investing In & Supporting One Another

This morning I want us to read through a few passages of how the people in the early church supported each other. I think these passages are a great reminder of how we need to be loving, caring and supporting each other. It is also a great reminder of how important it is to worship together. The early church got together regularly. In doing so they were constantly growing and learning about their faith but they also began to invest in each other.

I don’t know what this will look like for each of us or how the Lord directs you to support others. I pray that these passages will open all of our eyes to the needs of the communities we live in as well as those who are within our own congregations.

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” Acts 4:32-35

Krista Jones – 8.6.17