Silence

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Re: Silence

Postby chnokie » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:28 pm

Here's something I came across written by a missionary in Africa. I've found it helpful, and thought of just copying it here. It doesn't deal only with "silence", but with the general thought of relating with God at a personal level. Maybe it's helpful to someone.

BASKING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD




It’s July and cold in this African city. My students are heavily dressed even indoors, suffering from the cold, because there is still no glass in the windows of the unfinished classroom.


Tea break comes. Everyone takes a cup and heads for the outdoor sun to soak up its warm rays. They call it ‘basking’, just sitting in the sunshine absorbing the ministry of the sunlight and its warmth. How inviting the sunshine is when one is cold!


In the same way, Jesus the Son of God, invites us to sit with Him in His presence, soaking up His life which is the light of the world. I call it ‘basking in the presence of Jesus.’


How many are the Scriptures that describe us enjoying the presence of God!


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. Matthew 11:28,29


Jesus invites us to come into His presence and rest. He invites us to learn as He teaches us and ministers to us. He desires us to be yoked side-by-side with Him, as we live and work together, He the teacher and we His students.


In John 14:23 Jesus says He and His Father will come and make their home with us. Can you imagine them sitting on your sofa fellowshipping with you – talking about anything and everything? They take an interest in your latest crisis or joy. They show you more of their love and character, helping you develop the same traits in your life. You share with them the struggles you’re having overcoming anger or impatience, lust or unforgiveness. And they reassure you that they understand and know how you can overcome these faults (sins).


Not only does God “come down” to live where you are. But He has also enabled you to come up to where He is. I can’t really comprehend what it’s like to be sitting up in heaven with Christ and my heavenly Father. But Ephesians 2:6 tells me that’s where I am already.


What are we doing up in heaven? Basking in the love and riches of God’s mercy and grace. We’re enjoying the presence of the Lord. And in His presence there is fullness of joy, and in His right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11).


These are just a few of the Scriptures we want to look at as we discuss this overwhelming privilege of basking in the presence of God! We want to see how much God seems to value this privilege He has extended to us. And we want to try to understand what is happening when we do sit in the presence of God.


Let us open our hearts and look more closely at this tremendous blessing God has bestowed upon us.



Walking with God


Every now and then my wife and I go for a walk together. It’s a wonderful time just to share the latest things that are happening in our lives and to talk a bit about the future. One of our routes takes us through her garden. Everyone who knows her has admired how beautiful her garden is. And she likes to take me on a stroll and point out some of her latest plantings.


I wonder if Adam and Eve did the same sort of thing with God before sin entered into their hearts? Did they stroll through the beautiful garden God had created for them, and discuss some of its beauty and how to tend it? Did they talk about some of the other wonders of creation like the sun, moon and stars? Did God ever share special secrets with them? Of course, we don’t know the answers to these questions.


But we do know that even after they sinned, their fellowship with God did not end. Not long after they ate the fruit and discovered their shame and nakedness, God came to them and entered into that famous conversation with them found in Genesis chapter 3. God did not hate them for their disobedience, even though it greatly affected the quality of their fellowship. Instead, He Himself provided more proper clothing for them, using the skins of animals He obviously slew in order to make their coverings. Many theologians see this as the first blood sacrifice for their sins.


We’re also told after Cain and Abel were born that they brought to Yahweh God offerings from the work of their hands. They obviously knew where to meet God and have communion with Him, and to even give Him their offerings. And even though God did not regard Cain’s offering, He instructed Cain in how to do better and to overcome his disappointment, sense of rejection and bitterness toward his brother. Apparently there was some conversation going on between them. Unfortunately for Cain and God both, Cain did not heed God’s counsel.


But this did not end the fellowship that God had with mankind. After Cain slew his brother Abel, Adam and Eve had another son called Seth who later had his own son called Enosh. And it says in Genesis 4:26, “at that time men began to call upon the name of Yahweh.”


I’m not sure exactly what the term “call upon the name of Yahweh” means, but I would guess that it has something to do with having fellowship with God. Later in chapter 5 we are told of a man named Enoch who walked with God. Now, that is a descriptive phrase: Enoch walked with God.


I wonder what they talked about? Could they have talked about Enoch’s family, his herds and his garden? Could they have discussed how to handle the sins and temptations Enoch was facing in his own life? Possibly Yahweh took time to describe parts of heaven with Enoch and give him a desire to go in that direction. There are many things they could have talked about.


Just like you. You have many things you can talk over with God. Have you ever thought of taking a walk with Him? Maybe you don’t even need an agenda. But like my wife and I when we go for a walk, we can talk about anything and everything to do with our lives. And we can do that also with God. It’s time to just enjoy His presence – to bask in His presence. It’s time to talk about your life, and the difficulties you face, and the victories you’ve experienced, and the challenges that are coming up. It’s time to enjoy the creation of God and to appreciate Him for all He has made. It’s also time to rejoice over the tremendous things He has done for you. It’s conversation time.


Most people I talk to can’t imagine having a conversation with God? Why not, I ask? After all, God is a person too. He doesn’t have flesh and blood as we have, but he does have all the attributes of personality. He thinks, He feels, He desires, He dislikes, He enjoys, He talks, He works, He listens – all the things anyone of us does.


I suppose that the reason most people don’t imagine taking a walk with God and just conversing with Him is because of the type of praying they’ve been exposed to in church. Many of these prayers are formal. And in some places the prayers are loud and emphatic, full of emotion and shouting. I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with any kind of praying because God is gracious and understands. But when I experience formal praying – and I’ve said more of these than I’d like to admit; and when I experience the loud shouting prayers which I’ve also done from time to time, I have to wonder what kind of impression do we have of God?


Somehow, neither formal nor loud praying tend to make me think of a very personal God. I know the given reasons for both types of praying. Formal prayers tend to acknowledge the majesty and awesomeness of God. Loud prayers are full of emotion, and those who pray in this way often give vent to their emotions while praying. There’s nothing wrong with either type.


But I must say that they still tend to make God a lot less personal and personable than He wants to be. Yes, He is awesome in majesty, and holy above all sinfulness. His power is incredible. And at times it is appropriate to worship Him.


But there are times when it’s just appropriate to walk with Him and talk with Him and listen to Him as He shares with us. There are times when it’s fitting to just relax and be comfortable in the presence of God. There are times when it’s just fantastic to enjoy the warmth of His presence, as though one were basking in the sunshine. After all, His presence is full of love and mercy and kindness and grace. And we can enjoy all those blessings just walking with Him.
chnokie
 

Re: Silence

Postby Johannes_1965 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:00 am

Chnokie, that's a great text about seeking the presence of God in silence. It's only too long for me. I understand that Africans are eloquent and their preaching is much longer than in Western Europe. So this would be my short version of the essentials:

Jesus the Son of God, invites us to sit with Him in His presence, soaking up His life which is the light of the world. I call it ‘basking in the presence of Jesus.’
How many are the Scriptures that describe us enjoying the presence of God!
Jesus invites us to come into His presence and rest.
What are we doing up in heaven? Basking in the love and riches of God’s mercy and grace. We’re enjoying the presence of the Lord. And in His presence there is fullness of joy, and in His right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11).
There are times when it’s just appropriate to walk with Him and talk with Him and listen to Him as He shares with us. There are times when it’s fitting to just relax and be comfortable in the presence of God. After all, His presence is full of love and mercy and kindness and grace. And we can enjoy all those blessings just walking with Him.

To this I say: Amen.

(BBCode and toolbar are still off, otherwise there would be the appropriate smiley).
Last edited by Johannes_1965 on Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Silence

Postby jochanaan » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:12 pm

The best way to praise silence--is to be silent. :)
You can live your life in fear--or you can live your life.
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Re: Silence

Postby firefighter » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:41 pm

jochanaan wrote:The best way to praise silence--is to be silent. :)


I can be silent except for inside my head.
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