When Do You Take Time To Stop?

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

One of my favorite authors posted on Facebook the other day that she took a day off and did nothing but watch TV, catching up on shows and eating. This was unusual for her, and she asked if this was what normal people do every day.

Most of the ones who responded said they didn’t know because they never had time to stop. I was one of those people.

This morning, as I geared up for everything on my to do list, I realized that I should not feel proud of the fact I never stop. That is not good. It’s not good, either, for people to spend their days watching TV and eating.

We are commanded to stop, be still, know that He is God. This is not by accident. We need it.

God knew we needed to slow down and rest. Even he rested.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Genesis 2:3

Although people focus a lot on Jesus’ efforts to push forward and act during his time on earth, he did carve out  niches of time to rest.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Matthew 14: 13-15

In the above passage, Jesus had just learned of the beheading of John the Baptist. He needed time to think, to draw near to God. He withdrew by boat to a solitary place. Have you ever gone out on a boat and drifted on the currents? It’s peaceful, quiet, a place to reflect and restore. When the people followed him, he tended to them, but by the end of the day, the disciples express concern over how to feed the people. Why? Jesus chose a remote place where he could be quiet, to be still, to be with the Father. There was no food.

The crowds took that time. Doesn’t that sound familiar? But, it doesn’t deter Jesus. See what happens after they feed the five thousand:

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Matthew 14:22-25

He still found the time to pray and be alone. It meant he missed his ride, but he made the choice to get what he needed most.

This is just one day in Christ’s life, but if you look, you’ll find many occurrences where he sought time to rest as his father commanded, to follow the psalmist’s admonition to be still and know.

This doesn’t mean sitting on the couch watching TV or playing with your tablet. It means to be still. To listen for the Spirit. To pray to the Lord. To feel the comfort of His power and presence.

I admit, this is hard for me. I’m pulled in so many directions, but I need to rejuvenate and be still. Even if it’s a few quiet moments with the bathroom door closed, I need to find it.

Where do you go to be still?

Lessons From a Lighthouse: Shine Your Light

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

We climbed 207 steps to the top of Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

Yes.  207 spiraling steps.

It wasn’t a cool day.  It wasn’t a very breezy day either.  It took work, but we made it.

At the top, we found breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the sound between the lower outer banks and the mainland. Shackleford Island, home to wild horses for centuries, spread out in one direction, and I managed to capture photos of the horses even though, at that distance, they were tiny dots.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  Matthew 5:15

The lighthouse at Cape Lookout was the first lighthouse built on the Outer Banks in 1805.  It stood ninety-seven feet high, but ships found it difficult to locate. The barrier islands are surrounded with shoals dangerous to a ship. The light wasn’t doing its job. In 1859, a taller lighthouse replaced the first one. It stands 163 feet high and became the guide for building others along the coast.

Christ tells us to put our lamp on a stand.  It must be visible. If it’s not, you need to rethink your efforts. Just like climbing the lighthouse stairs, this takes work.  We can’t proclaim ourselves a light for others unless we choose to work at being that light.

Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”  Luke 11:36

What can you do to make your light shine? Before you answer with the typical three–read your Bible, pray, and attend church–I ask you to reconsider your answer.  Yes.  we should do those things, but they are the first steps on that 207 step climb. They might get you to the first landing inside the lighthouse (there were four landings, and a ladder-like staircase at the very top).

What else can you do to let your light shine in order to save people from the dangerous shoals and shallows surrounding them?

At the top of the lighthouse. © Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

At the top of the lighthouse.
© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

Aromatherapy In Christ

IMG_1520We wandered along the halls of the nursing home, my daughter, granddaughter, husband, and myself, wheeling Mom’s chair ahead of me.  Victoria, my five-year-old granddaughter walked beside her great grandmother, unsure of how to interpret this new setting and the changes in my mother.  Unaware of the differences in his great grandmother, Victoria’s baby brother stared around from the vantage point of his mother’s arms.

As we traveled, Victoria complained of being cold.  The nursing home’s air did run high, a fact proven by the many residents tucked into their chairs with blankets.  Victoria still wore the sundress she’d worn to church and her lean, little body couldn’t keep her warm.  I offered her my blazer, and we stopped while I helped her put it on. She pulled it close and smiled up at me.  “It smells like you.”

I laughed.  “What do I smell like?”

She shrugged.  “You.”

I remembered the smells of both of my grandmothers’ homes, the fragrance of powder in one, in the other, the smell of permanence, of a home lived in for many years. Not a bad smell, just one of an old house.  But what did I smell like?

I can’t wear anything scented, so it definitely wasn’t perfume, and I moved three years ago, so it definitely wasn’t the other! To this day, I don’t know what Victoria smelled, but it made her smile at a time when she felt unsure about her surroundings.

I thought about this the other day and was reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians:

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  2 Cor. 2:15

If you examine the verses surrounding this one, we learn that when we spread the knowledge of Christ’s grace and salvation everywhere, it spreads like a fragrance.  For God, we represent His son.  To Satan, the following verses say, we smell of death, but to God and His followers, we are the fragrance of life.  We provide salvation with our words.  The message of Christ gives them comfort in an unsure place just like my “aroma” eased Victoria’s confusion in an unfamiliar place.

What fragrance do you give off.  Does it provide comfort? Are you the aroma of Christ to others?