Monthly Archives: January 2015

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Continuing a thought from our previous post, Psalm 46:10 says, Be still, and know that I am God. The Japanese translation for the word “be still” here is “yameyo.” It is the command form of speech to STOP.

Let’s ask a question: What is one of the things YOU feel most every day? Is it not that you feel tired?

Tiredness is rampant in Japan. There are TV ads for drinks that give instant and renewed energy. The expression “O tsukare sama desu” has become a national way of greeting by praising and thanking an individual for their undying initiative to work. No matter how tired one might be, he feels obligated to keep on going, and going because of being praised and thanked for his determination to work. We live in a society that will not allow us to stop! We live in a FAST FORWARD society. We need to learn how to PAUSE.

Remember the Coca Cola commercial from years ago that said, “the PAUSE that REFRESHES.” If we don’t pause and be still, how then can we know God anymore intimately?

One of the main causes of tiredness is worry and stress. Worry and stress affect our breathing, appetite, physical strength and even blood pressure. Yes, it constricts our blood vessels and stops the normal flow of oxygen to our entire body, causing it to become tired. Tired bodies NEED more oxygen.

Japanese Pastor Yoko Izumi told me years ago when he was asked by a Kita Kyushu City mental hospital to come and counsel patients, that he noticed something peculiar about some of the more severe patients. He noticed they would not breathe through their noses. Instead they were breathing through their open mouths. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Izumi-sensei thought this breathing pattern was unnatural. Their mouths and lips were dried out, causing some of them to cough. He immediately began teaching them to breath through their noses, just as God had ordained in the beginning and noticed a change begin to take place.

If you happen to swallow something and it goes “down the wrong pipe,” do not gasp for air through your mouth. This will only cause you more stress and panic. Try breathing through your nose and you know, you’ll sense the gasping, fear and stress of the situation naturally begin to dissipate. This is God’s ordained way of breathing. Slowly inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.

Let’s look at the Japanese “kanji” for “breath.”

息The top half of this character expresses the concept of “my own.” The bottom half shows a “heart.” Thus the character the ancient Chinese used to express “breath” was the concept of God breathing His very own heart into the nostrils of man, and as a result “man became a living soul.” Breath, or oxygen is the very life God — and it makes our ticker tick. (God) “giveth to all life, and breath, and all things . . . For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:25, 28.

Let’s consider here for a moment God’s presence as His breath. Luke 1:19 says, “And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.” This word “presence” is pronounced eno-pion (ἐνώπιον) in Greek and simply means the place that is before you, the FACE. When God knelt down and breathed into Adam His breath, His very own heart, it was a face-to-face encounter. God made husbands-wives, brothers-sisters, aunts-uncles, cousins, friends — all of us human beings to look at each other when communicating.

More than anything I want in this life of living as a Christian, I would not want money, possessions or even new friends. What I want most of all is the presence of God. However, I must take time to meet God, inhale the presence of the Holy Spirit,  and learn to STOP and LISTEN in order to KNOW Him more intimately.

Let’s consider God’s Holy Spirit as being the oxygen we breathe. He is everywhere and brings life to those who breathe deeply. Breathe in deeply and exhale. Worry, stress and tiredness will be relieved. You’ll become a healthier, happier person, AND your church will become a healthier, happier church.

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Psalm 46:1-3, 10

1 To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 

Verse 1 says, “God is our refuge, our strength.” This is very personal. Paul said to the Philippians “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The verse goes on to say, “A very present help in trouble.” Notice that it is spoken in the PRESENT tense, not past or future tense. God is the God of NOW. Troubles: we all have them from time to time, do we not?

Verses 2 and 3 are descriptive of the kinds of trouble we have:

. . . though the earth be removed, though the mountains be carried into the sea, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof . . . we will not fear . . . Selah.

Now what in the world could this Hebrew word of exclamation, Selah, mean, anyway? Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines the word thus: rest, silence! 

The Lexicon goes on to say, “Such seems to be the probable import of this musical note, so often found in the Psalms which has been so much discussed and tortured by the conjectures and blunders of interpreters. It seems to have been used to mark a short pause in singing of words of the psalm, so that the singer would be silent, while the instrumental music continued.”

This pause-rest of vocal silence allowing the instruments to continue in what we refer to as the background music, would provide a perfect atmosphere to pause, rest and think deeply, or ponder the words of what has just been sung. Imagine pushing the “pause button” of our busy lives, resting a tad bit and ponder the Word God has spoken here. It would certainly calm us down. God is in control.

Let’s read Psalm 46:1-3 once again.

1 To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

No one knows what may happen tomorrow! Good and bad things will certainly happen. If good things, then we all rejoice. But what if something bad happens? How should we respond? One thing for sure is that we should not create a campsite and build a fire around that BAD thing that happened. When God created Adam He gave him two feet wisely designed to move FORWARD, not backward. It’s unwise to build a campsite around bad experiences. We should ask God to help us put out the fire, pick ourselves up, gather our thoughts and continue moving forward. He will, you know, because His name is Emmanuel. When, and if, bad things happen to us, we should . . .

10 Be still, and know that I am God:

BE STILL — Are you ready for the meaning of this word in the Hebrew? It means to sink, relax, let go, let alone and be quiet. A little difficult to do when something devastatingly bad happens don’t you think? But, nonetheless, the Word tells us to BE STILL.

I remember once when I was home all alone. There wasn’t a soul anywhere to be heard. No sound of wind blowing, no sound of a blaring TV, no sound of a percolating coffee pot, nor any background music. I sat down in the chair, took a deep breath, exhaled and listened to the quiet. It was an awesome experience. Every now and then I do it again . . . STOP and listen to the quiet.

KNOW — This word means to learn to know, that is learning how to know; to find out, to know by or from experience, know as a friend, become skillful in knowing.

We learn from our experiences, both good and bad. So whatever happens today, or even tomorrow, let’s make it a point to learn from the experience. Let’s plan on learning a lesson from our experiences. Notice that He speaks this here as a command, “know that I am God,” not you. No arguing.

I AM GOD — Aren’t you glad you’re not God? We should be, yet there are countless people who would give anything to be God for a day. Remember Bruce Almighty? He thought it would be fun, but soon found out that he wasn’t created to be God. He learned from his experiences of trying to be the Almighty that it was God’s purpose and plan for him to simply put his trust in God.

The Bible teaches that we should trust in the LORD with everything we’ve got, and not try to figure things out ourselves. If we just give Him the credit and chance, He’ll straighten things out (Proverbs 3:5-6). We used to say, “Let go and let God.”

Don’t you think He knows how to be God? After all, He made the heavens, earth and all that is in them. Surely He knows how to handle our situations. When we worry and get stressed, it’s a sign we aren’t allowing God into our situation. You know, if we simply “let go and let God,” He’ll worry for us! That would make life a lot, lot easier for sure.

Mark 4:35-39 — Jesus Calms The Storm

beSTILL35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

One day Jesus says, “Hey, guys, let’s pass over to the other side.” So, they all got in the boat and headed on over. Jesus had a plan, He had a reason for heading to the other side. The gang was all excited to head on over and be a part of the plan. I mean, hey, this was Jesus heading up the party! He knew how to heal the sick and cast out demons, walk on water and what not, and, yes, they wanted to be a part of it all.

A great, violent, mighty, strong storm arose and the boat began rocking. Has your boat ever been rocked when you had everything planned so perfectly? When, and if that happens, always remember that it was Jesus who said, “Let’s pass over to the other side.” He said it with purpose and He had a plan! He was so sure of it that he fell fast asleep to take a rest. The storm didn’t bother Him at all. It was the disciples’ noise and screams that disturbed His sleep, not the storm. He stood up and took the control that the disciples had lost because of fear, unbelief and lack of trust in their Captain’s Word, “Let’s pass over to the other side.”

We don’t know what we may today or tomorrow. One thing we can know for sure is that God is in control. Through this experience the disciples relaxed, let go of the fear and came to know the great I AM.

In closing, let’s take a quick look at what Jesus said to the wind and waves of the storm, and apply these principles to whatever may happen to us.

PEACE — hold your tongue, shut your mouth. The original Greek says, “to close the mouth with a muzzle, reduce to silence.”

BE STILL — be quiet, be calm.

The wind ceased, and there was great calm. The Captain and His disciples passed over completely to the other side and experienced perhaps one of the greatest miracles of all Jesus’ ministry.

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What is celibacy? Celibacy can be a choice in life, or a condition imposed by circumstances.
 While attending a Marriage Weekend, Fred and his wife, Diane, listened to the instructor declare, “It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.”
He then addressed the men, “Can you name and describe your wife’s favorite
flower?”
Fred leaned over, touched Diane’s arm gently, and whispered, “Gold Medal All-Purpose, isn’t it?”
And thus began Fred’s life of celibacy.