Silence is OK – Silence is Good

“Silence is not wasted time, but useful time spent.”
This is the mighty Colorado River. I sat in silence watching it go by me. Though the water was moving swiftly, it wasn’t making a sound that I could hear.
While taking in this calming view, I was reminded of something Mr. Rogers once said. “Silence is not wasted time, but useful time spent.”
He asked his audience, “How long is a minute?” While film was rolling, he took an egg timer and set it to a minute. He then proceeded to be quiet as the seconds ticked away. This was on TV where time is money and nothing was happening, or so one thought.
Children’s programming had become so fast paced that reflection was being squeezed out. It is the same for adults. We have endless amounts of programming and entertainment at our literal fingertips.
Maybe we should learn the lesson Rogers was attempting to teach children. Silence is OK. Silence is good. Time for both reflection and meditation are greatly encouraged in the Scriptures.
Are we OK with being silent in our fast paced world? Or, are we afraid we might not like what we’ll see if we do?
Our faith in what Jesus did makes us secure children of God (John 1:12), so there is nothing to fear from a little quiet reflection. Our faith in Jesus made us a somebody who can do something with the life the Father gave us (Eph. 2:10) and meditation can only help.
We will not be fully like Jesus until we see Him face to face. So for now, a little bit of silent reflection will do us wonders until He finishes the job He started in us.

The Reality of Following Jesus

“A dead thing goes down stream, only a living thing goes against it.”
I’ve fished for salmon in both Alaska and California. These fish are literally working their tails off to get upstream to their spawning grounds.
For some, like those pictured, this process is much harder than others. Some get eaten along the way by bears, eagles or humans. And yet, they must go through this arduous task to reproduce and keep the salmon life cycle going.
It’s the same for those who truly love and follow Jesus. We live in a world that wants to feed our flesh and its desires, rather than kill them. Living out the truths Jesus gives us, then, will be like swimming upstream.
We’ll need a tougher, stronger and deeper faith to live in a day when people, including some Christians, only want to float downstream in the river of “everyone has a right to believe what they want to believe,” except those going upstream.
Swimming upstream will take dying to ourselves – our feelings, our rationalizations, our justifications, etc. – to let the Spirit replace us with Jesus. This kind of upstream living will mean making tough contrary faith choices (going against our way of thinking and feeling) throughout our day.
Don’t be fooled. This is the reality for Jesus followers. BUT, be encouraged. Jesus went upstream and look what happened to Him. He’s alive and seated on the throne next to the Father.
He won and so can you as you continue to follow Him upstream.

Be Alive!

“In the Netherlands, Christianity is dying and Islam is rising. The writing is on the wall.”
The article went on to quote the Archbishop of the Netherlands, “In 2028, when I will be 75 and will hand in my resignation, 8 or 10 churches will remain.” This means that in the next 10 years 270 Roman Catholic churches will be closed and either demolished or repurposed by their new owners.
Why? Secularization. The Dutch church going people allowed society to mold their thinking and character rather than Jesus. This led to an ineffective faith, which eventually led to a dead faith and to shuttered buildings that were once full of alive and vibrant Jesus followers.
A living faith comes from being connected to someone – Jesus, not something – a building or an institution (either Protestant or Roman Catholic). A living faith comes from listening to and following someone who is alive – Jesus, the Living Head of His Church.
A living faith comes from loving Jesus through Spirit empowered faith choices to exercise the truths Jesus gives you in His Word. A living faith understands you don’t go to church, but are the church everywhere you go as you walk with other Jesus followers.
You, yes you, can have a living and breathing faith in Jesus. You, yes you, can be changed by this faith, which keeps your faith alive and vibrant. You, yes you, can share what Jesus has and is doing in you with others. As you do, Christianity will never die where you live.
Jesus said that He is the resurrection and the life. In other words, Jesus has a habit of making dead things come alive. Will you allow Him to make your life, your career, your marriage and/or family, your friends, your congregation, your world alive?

Be Transparent with Jesus

“Come to Me” – Jesus.
One author summed up Jesus’ statement like this, “If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words, ‘Come unto Me.’” A Jesus lover is transparent (Come to) with Jesus about what’s going on inside their heart and head.
They come to Him with anything and everything – big or seemingly small, significant or the not apparently important. The true test of our love, then, is what we hold back, not what we actually share.
Think about it. By not coming to Jesus, who are we really trusting? Ourselves. And, isn’t this what causes our insecurities? “Can I handle it? Can I get through it?”
The psalmist, however, said, “Blessed is the one who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in His commands (like, “Come to Me”). They will have no fear of bad news; their heart will be steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”
Bad news – life not going as you planned and/or thoughts tearing you down – can lead to insecurity. And yet, this passage states that when you trust Jesus enough to come to Him (rather than keep it to yourself) you get a backbone (steadfast means to stand tall)!
You can stand tall in the midst of the so-called bad news. Jesus can turn your insecurity into security by coming to Him with what’s going on inside you. He died and rose again to show His love for you. You can show your love for Him by passing the transparency test.

See What You’re Staring At

“What is truth?” – Pilate
In a recent episode of a favorite TV show, the main law enforcement officer says, “Truth is truth. It doesn’t depend on circumstances. If not, then I can’t do my job. Either someone is guilty of breaking the law or they are not.”
The author, a retired administrator from a California university not known for allowing certain viewpoints a fair hearing, wrote that we are presuming people guilty before any facts come to the surface. Her point was that we all should feel uneasy with this kind of mentality. We could easily become its target.
Jesus, not me, said that He is the Truth. Only He could set people free from all the destructive side effects of their sinful choices. He also said that as you trust Him, rather than your feelings, you can experience life, not only for eternity, but in the here and now as well.
Jesus followers are going to have to make tough choices in the days ahead. If we want to have the life Jesus promised, we must not become like Pilate who couldn’t recognize the truth when He was literally staring Pilate in the face.
Keep practicing the Word of God with each choice you make today when it’s easy. As you do, you’ll be ready when it’s hard.