We have spent a few days now looking at the idea of being still before God and the spiritual disciplines that make that possible. But I want us to look a little deeper. Plus this will be new info and a good next step for all our Area One campers who heard all the rest of this at camp this summer. This all started with Psalm 46:10a, “Be still and know that I am God…” That is the phrase that it on most posters, paintings, and bookmarks of this verse. But why are there those three dots at the end? Well, because there is more to the verse. Silence, solitude, and simplicity do not occur in a vacuum. They have a purpose. And we find that purpose in the rest of the verse.
“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)
Our being still is for the purpose of the exaltation of God. I believe He will be exalted in our moment of focus and solitude. But I also believe that moment prepares us to take His glory to the nations, to the earth.
How does God want to use you in this process? What is your time alone with Him leading you to? What passions is He stirring in you? What is he preparing you for?
Over 7000 languages are spoken in the world, but less than 500 have a complete Bible in their language.
10,000 Zambian children die every year from diarrhea because they don’t have access to clean water.
218 million children are trapped in child labor. 1.8 million are exploited in the global sex trade. And another child is trafficked every 26 seconds.
There are half a million abused and neglected children in foster care in the U.S.
There is an elderly lady in your neighborhood who has outlived everyone she knows and has no one to talk to.
There is a child in a poor part of your town who God created with the gifts to do what you do, but they will never get the opportunity because they can’t afford an instrument, or a team uniform, or lessons.
When you spend time with God, your heart begins to beat with His. Where is He leading you? Listen and find out. Then, as Henry Blackaby says, find what God is doing and join Him. For the exaltation of His name among the nations and in the earth.
33 thoughts on “Be Still, Vol. 5”
Wow…such a sad day that christians one by one are dropping like flies into the great falling away in being seduced by the NEW spirituality of eastern mysticism through popular ‘christian’ teachers promoting contemplative prayer, the silence, centering prayer, and spiritual disciplines which are all unbiblical teachings mixing paganism with christianity…Todd you need to go back to the bible and steer away from reading books by popular christian authors that are teaching pagan spirituality and not the true walk in the Spirit and abiding in God’s word the truth as the ONLY way that leads to life…I am not against discipline but the spiritual disciplines and ‘silence’ are all buzz words being used to deceive brethren and seduce them into a pagan spiritual disciplines, spirituality, and philosophies that is uniting the entire world along with deceived christians who will follow in the same ways for the coming of the antichrist to be accepted as The Christ…the man you quoted Henry Blackaby may say some things you enjoy and agree with but the man is seduced by the eastern mystical philosophies being mixed into christianity from the emerging church…Eventually the influence of these false teachings leads to losing ones hunger for the truth of what is written for the NEW thing that is not from our Lord Jesus Christ that is in agreement with His word but of the serpent…the scriptures say that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many will be on it but SMALL is the gate and NARROW is the way that leads to life and FEW there be that find it…
Good Stuff… Keep Looking Up! Bro…
I believe this is the one reason that we fear or are afraid of being alone with God that he would call us out of our comfort zone to be his hands and feet to that village by providing that clean water etc. But that is where we have short circuited God’s effectiveness in our lives and in the lives of those around us/ in our world today. We as Christians as a whole have allowed this fear and our comfortablilty to plague us to point of ineffectiveness. We need to raise up, church we need to live out the call that God has placed on those who are choose to follow him. That call is be fishers of men or disciple makers, to be the hands and feet of God. If we are live out that call effectively then we must get alone with God to tune our hearts and wills to his. Then we operate in the sweet spot of his grace and mercy as well as be a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. Thanks Todd for making us all think and reflect on what God is trying to speak to each one of us.
What is God’s glory? The correct Sunday School answer is Jesus. But a deeper look reveals the heart of the Father which is an invitation to love. When we accept His invitation to be loved by Him, and truly believe in the core of our being that we are His beloved, our response and deepest desire will be to love others–not out of duty or obligation or any sort of religious mission, but because the glory of God in us can’t help but shine through us when we’ve spent time in His presence. Thanks, Todd, for these reminders to be still, and from that stillness to be quietly active.
Good stuff. Reminds me of Bill Hybels book about God Whispers. You have to be quiet to hear Him…but being quiet is scary because you have no idea what He’s going to call us to. It’ll be awesome whatever it is…but it’s rarely easy. 🙂
It’s funny how Christians are more than willing to quote scripture like “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many will be on it but SMALL is the gate and NARROW is the way that leads to life and FEW there be that find it…”, but they never seem to UNDERSTAND what it is saying. It’s like they are ever seeing, but never perceiving…Christianity as has been practiced in the western world for the last umpteen years is PLAGUED by superficiality…people quote scripture with zero thought or soul-searching…the church is FILLED with greed, and COMPLETELY unbiblical teaching (although the Bible is always quoted in support of their schemes). I APPLAUD Todd for encouraging believers to commune with the LIVING God via the variety of disciplines, as opposed to the IDOLATROUS worship of a book (yes, I do believe some people actually worship the Bible, not the God OF the Bible). Having a genuine communion with the Living God causes us to read the Bible with eyes untainted by pride, arrogance, greed, and selfishness. BTW, that scripture you quoted Candy…interesting that MANY believers do NOT (and have not) practice(d) spiritual disciplines of any kind…who is walking the wide road?
First of all, I think you totally got the wrong end of the stick here Candy.
Todd isn’t promoting ‘Eastern Spirituality’ and you’d be hard pressed to find someone less like a supporter of the Emergent ‘church’ than he.
The Jews of the Old Testament were told to take a Sabbath…to unplug…to be still. It was considered by God to be so important that it was enshrined in the 10 Commandments. They were told this because of the inherent value in letting go of their own stuff to hear what God is saying to us. This rings true…if not more so, in this supersonic-paced lifestyle we lead. So often we are talking so loudly ourselves that we can’t hear him.
It’s not mystical. It’s biblical.
Todd, I’ve really appreciated this blog series. “Be still” and “seek God first” are two things God is saying to me a lot this year. You are so right, how can we hear His voice when we don’t take time and learn to listen? And it’s so hard to stop to listen.
God has also been reminding me that His dealings with us are not just for us but for the display of His glory and His character to the world around us. I’d forgotten that’s what the last part of this verse said.
About some of the discussion this post has generated: It’s tragic when Christian leaders get deceived and take others with them. We need to pray hard for our leaders.
But the names Henry Blackaby, Richard Foster and Todd Agnew are names I associate with strong Biblical foundations and truth. God bless and sustain you and continue to equip you to be a voice for His truth and grace in a world that needs it.
Todd, I agree with the thoughts, I think as Americans we rarely actually take any time just to wait on the lord without some form of noise, or even full quiet when we are reading the word. How then can we hear a small voice, a gentle wisper, something as soft as a baby’s breath?
Dan, I agree.
I find your statement, When you spend time with God, your heart begins to beat with His, so powerful. I want my heart to always beat with His. Thank you for such a thought provoking article.
Todd, I am unaware of the “eastern mystecism” and other comments that some have aligned with your blog comments. Being STILL is an imperative. Hard to do in this age of distraction. Be STILL and KNOW that I am God…. Wow. It is difficult when we are so focused on being self-sufficient. We think of ourselves as Human Doings rather than Human Beings. I struggle with that. I lost my job in December. Hard to be STILL and BELIEVE God is who he says He is.
Furthermore, your heart is evident. Please be at peace about critical comments who take your thoughts out-of-context. Most of the “traditional” religious folks of Jesus’ day criticized Him, either because they did not understand his teachings…. or precisely because they DID understand what he was saying.
Keep honoring God with your music, with your thoughts, with your blog. Francis Shaeffer and others were also kept on the “fringe” of traditionalist religious expressions. God did not call us to remain in our comfort zones. You are helping to push those boundaries back.
God bless you.
I don’t know what this eastern mysticism is about and how being alone with God is a bad thing. Mark 1:35 shows Jesus went alone and prayed, isn’t he supposed to be our example?
And Ginia the problem with that is people will use that as an example and say, “God doesn’t want me to do that.” Sometimes we just have to go, don’t force good works, but the Spirit will work.
I mean with don’t force your “religion”, love is what must be shown
I have been studying this in a great book by Charles Bello-Prayer as a place-just developing a more intimate love with Christ and allowing him the time I would allow others I love to speak to me
I think you are right in the reminder of putting Scripture in context. It’s just like Romans 8:28…what about v. 29? Our purpose is to know and glorify Him; all the good deeds we might do channel through relationship with Jesus. There’s nothing good within us.
Now that I’m middle aged, I find myself just now grasping principles I knew as a child, even taught as a younger woman. I knew them, but now I KNOW them! God’s Word and truth is like that…it’s as deep as you want to go, but simple enough for a child.
I admit this is the first blog I’ve read…now I’m going back to meditate on the first few.
Well….I have read all of Todd’s blogs and have enjoyed each one and the way each one has made me think about something differently.
Todd, Thanks for quoting the rest of the verse in this blog instead of leaving the dot, dot, dot….. If we look at the last part of the verse, God is demanding to be exalted in all of the nations and in all of the Earth. Which is exactly the way it should be, but sadly it is not. If we really look at those statistics that Todd put out there, they are truly astonishing and so very sad. If His name is to be exalted in all of the Earth, then He is calling each of us who call themselves Christians to respond to His cry and listen for what He wants us to do to help in other nations for other people. When we are still and know that He is God, He may use that time to let us know how he wants to use us. I think Todd has it spot on in what he wrote.
There are some comments on here that made me a bit angry and sad. Angry that people can’t see what is really being said and meant and sad that those people feel the way they do. There is one comment in particular that was upsetting. It was something about Christians not being prepared when they go out to do good works and they only make the problems they were trying to help worse…. that those who went out to do good deeds without God’s specific prompting were not doing the right thing. I beg to differ….if someone, for example, goes on a mission trip to serve the poor or homeless or feed the hungry or whatever it is,I am sure they are not going without a reason, without some kind of prompting. If a person does missions with a pure heart with pure intentions, how can it not be from God. I have never heard of someone putting themself out there to help others to only cause more suffering or trouble. There are those who go on mission trips that are not Christians, but they are still doing the work of God, whether they know it or not!!!
And for the record, I think Todd is WAY into the Bible!
Thanks for sharing your heart Todd! I appreciate it and your words are from God and of god!
I absolutely agree with you! God has called each and every one of us unto Himself and unto others. We should not go out to the nations without first developing a relationship with God. Part of developing that relationship is spending time alone with Him. How can you know someone if you don’t spend time with them? You can’t. There is a difference between knowing about them and knowing them.
On the same token, we shouldn’t just spend time with Him and not reach out to others. Spending time with God does lead you to become more like Him and He is ALL about reaching those that are lost and hurting. That is His heart and when we love Him it becomes ours as well.
I am so sorry, Brother Todd, for Christians who profess His Name and yet don’t show His heart. The prodigal’s father didn’t correct his younger, more worldly son, but rather his older, knows-better son.
Keep up the good work.
Monday, on our way home from the beach, we stopped at a gas station. There was a young girl sitting in front of the store with a “homeless” sign. My first thought was, I’m gonna ask her why she is homeless..then try to encourage her to call home. She looked like she wasn’t much older than 16. Instead of approaching her, I called the local sheriff’s office to let them know, hoping they would take care of her. I had bad dreams that night…and I can’t get her out of head. I am a little disappointed in myself. I am usually an “up in your face with grace” kinda person. Maybe it was meant to happen like that..who knows. But it has all made me reflect on who I am in Christ and what am I doing to make a difference.
For me, being still is so difficult! Our pastor challenged us to be still and quiet in the Lord’s presence for 30 minutes last summer. It was brutally long. But like everything else in life, it takes practice. I have loved the times I’ve spent being still with God. They are precious and often when I’m struggling or having a hard time connecting, He brings to mind those times and those places. As to some previous comments, never before have I heard this attacked an eastern mystic practice. It’s unfortunate more of us do not practice calm, thoughtful time (some might call meditation). If we did, perhaps we would be slower to speak and longer to listen. Thank you for your blogs, Todd! I always appreciate your thoughts.
Solid, Todd. Not sure where that first comment was coming from….
You’re right on the money, Todd. Thanks for sharing. Please keep doing it!
Wonderful Post. We need to be strong and focus on what Todd Meant in his post, the message he was trying to convey, not what one person twisted it to mean. Thats how Satan works….throws you off track and tries to take the dark into the light…lets take the light to him.
My alone time with God is so precious; it makes me wonder why it’s so hard to get around to it some days. Maybe Brandon is right, and we avoid time with God because He may call us out of our comfort zone. He might just lead us to do things that we find uncomfortable or things that we don’t understand. He might even *gasp* lead us to do something that would make us look weird or crazy, like when He told the rich young ruler to sell all his belongings and follow Him.
Psalms 46 gives us a picture of who God is in the lives of His people. Verse 10 seems to be telling us to hush up and notice who God is and the role He has in our lives.
Scripture gives us examples of Jesus taking time to be alone with God, and He probably gave us those examples for a reason:
Matthew 14:23 “He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.”
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Luke 6:12 “One of these days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
Luke 9:18 “Once when Jesus was praying in private…”
Luke 11:1 “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place…”
If Jesus took time to be alone with God, and shut out the rest of the world, how much more important is it for us to do the same? We cannot follow Jesus if we don’t spend time abiding in Him and studying His word.
I’m not very familiar with Henry Blackaby, but I have heard this quote of his a number of times. His point makes practical sense, in that we mustn’t live our lives in park while waiting for divine inspiration. His point could also be a stumbling block if we simply look around for what God is doing, but don’t seek His counsel on what He desires us specifically to do. It just goes back to keeping our eye on Jesus first.
Okay, that’s a lot of words. May you ever rest in His blessings, Tess
If you think about this entire concept logically, how could being still with God, and allowing Him to speak, and getting used to hearing his voice be a bad thing? I’m not trying to be arrogant or rude in any way, I’m just asking Cindy. God wants us to know Him on a personal level. Take Moses for example. He would spend hours alone in the tent of meeting talking to God one on one to understand fully what God wanted him to do. God is the same God that was in the old testament, and I believe he desires to speak to us in the still small voice described in the bible. How can we hear it with all the world’s distractions? What Todd is saying makes total sense to me, so I just don’t understand what the disagreement is.
Having listen to Mr. Agnew since he was a pup, I know he does not put emphasis in what others comment on about the word. Mr. Agnew has always taught that the Bible in the only book to read. Candy, you were a little wide of the mark. He does however say you can read other books (buy his music haha) but the truth is only in the word and what the holy spirit reveals to you individually. But Candy appreciate your thoughts.
It is in our striving that we lose our ability to be still and listen to God’s heart. We become the clanging cymbals in 1 Co. 13 rather than the sweet sound of the rhythm of grace. This powerful scripture in Psalm 46 tells me three important things: (1.) I need to BE quiet, slow down, stop being so self-absorbed, and refocus on WHO God is. (2.) I need to KNOW God more intimately–as my Father, as my Shepherd/King, as my Friend, as my Love. (3.) Regardless of my response or the denial of skeptics, God WILL BE exalted. He has prepared the very elements of nature to praise Him, even if humans are silent. This Psalm was written to comfort people in times of great fear and chaos–much like our world today–and to remind us that we can trust our God to come through with strength and power. If we really believe that, we will join in the exaltation of His name and the building of His kingdom. It will not be through hateful rhetoric or judgmental arrogance, but through the love, joy and peace of the Spirit that motivates us to sacrificially serve those around us.
Hi Todd. I doubt you’ll remember me but years ago when I was working at KADI in Springfield, MO you just stopped in unannounced and we had a nice chat for a few hours. I happened to see your twitter nick in someone’s twitter stream today and wondered what you were doing now…and wow. You’re really getting to the core of things!
I’m in a season where in my quiet time God’s been silent. Completely silent. And taking away the things that I had been doing. It’s been very very frustrating because I know my time on Earth is short (even if I’m here 40 more years, that’s short in the grand scheme of things) and I want to be using my time and gifts and talents for Him. But He’s being quiet. And I don’t know what it could possibly be preparing me to do unless He wants to make me a librarian.
This all sounds so good, but we have this focus and energy spent on “finding God’s will” when it is so well spelled out already in His word. This idea of being still to discover God’s will for your life isn’t what is being taught in PSA 46:10. Let’s place our affections where God has already told us to place them, so that in our “going” we can do the clear will of God already revealed in His word. Todd has made some practical suggestions that I would agree are God’s will. We need to put our energies into loving and ministering to people, who are made in the image of God.
In short, the more we know Him, the more exalted and glorified in our lives He becomes. When we truly grasp His grace and mercy, our hearts are humbled to serve. As we know Him, we become more like Him…
Firstly thank you Todd, this is my first stop on this page of your site. Many wonderful and encouraging thoughts from everyone. I loved what Patricia said about allowing Christ time to speak to her just as she would any of the loved ones in her life. Think on that a moment, how much time to you spend listening to friends and loved ones? How much more deserving of our attention and listening ears is Christ? My own goal is to listen every day for at least 20 min. As others have mentioned his voice can be a whisper for me at times, and I need the quiet to hear. Thank you all for your voices of encouragement.