Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Sound of Silence



The Sound of Silence

Years ago, Paul Simon wrote a song called “The Sound of Silence”.  In fact, it was just a couple of years after I was born.  But until recently, the words didn’t come alive to me.  This song seems prophetic in many ways to our society. 

Now that I see it that way I cannot hear it enough.  It’s as if God has opened this song up to me, unlocking it some how for me to understand.  I’m going to share what I hear in it, in hopes that we all get the same message from it.  Because after hearing the words through what God has revealed, I cannot be silent.

Hello darkness, my old friend
Darkness, absence of light, Christ being the “light of the world”

I've come to talk with you again
            Speaking to the darkness, the evil of the world.
Because a vision softly creeping
Softly creeping, quietly sneaking in

Left its seeds while I was sleeping
            We sleep with our eyes wide open, ignoring what goes on around us
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Then we awake one day to see the world around us as it is
Still remains
And just as this won’t shake from my head when I hear the song, it remains.

Within the sound of silence
And I stayed silent about it for weeks now.  I stayed silent. Muzzled by fear of what? Being told I was ridiculous, out of my head, a “crazy Christian”.

In restless dreams I walked alone
The vision began by being alone, walking in the night, the evil of darkness

Narrow streets of cobblestone
Streets that were old, had been paths for many others who remained silent

'Neath the halo of a street lamp
A street lamp that seemed to provide some light, if only in one place.

I turned my collar to the cold and damp
No one wants to see the sin and evil, we turn up our collars to not feel it.

When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
Stabbed – you can’t get away from the pain.  Neon light.  Commerce, business, the things we strive for without even knowing why.
That split the night
Wide open we are now, not asleep.

And touched the sound of silence
Yet no one was heard.  Not a word.

And in the naked light I saw
            Naked light, revealing all we don’t want to see.
Ten thousand people, maybe more
Humanity, all in one place

People talking without speaking
Expressions on the faces as we look at each other with every look except love.
Words from t-shirt slogans, tattoos, and even facebook posts that we judge by.

People hearing without listening
            We hear what we want to hear, see what we want to see, and dismiss the rest.
People writing songs that voices never share
We never share what is on our hearts, our songs, because…
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence


"Fools" said I, "You do not know
God finally speaks, and calls us all fools
Silence like a cancer grows
The more one of us is silent, the harder it is for any to not be silent
Hear my words that I might teach you
We don’t want to hear him that we’d be wiser.  We’re content to be silent and not truly live lives that can matter.
Take my arms that I might reach you"
With all He has, He tries to reach us with outstretched arms.

But my words like silent raindrops fell
His words are given daily, written for all to have and all to know.  He’s open to communication through prayer, but…
And echoed in the wells of silence
It goes unheard because Christians like myself are “wells of silence” where those drops of rain fall, and lay silent.
And the people bowed and prayed
We all pray to someone or something.  But often our prayers to God are not about what matters to Him but about what matters to us.  We fail to even speak of His will, and ask for that change in our lives that cause us to truly LIVE.

To the neon god they made
We pray about the things that are neon, not real light, but artificial.  Not God, but worshipped as if they were real.

And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
Graffiti often spells names of those that want to be heard, want to be known.  They spell out a need to be loved.  They spell out slogans and phrases that we use to try to be socially accepted.  They spell out loneliness.  They spell out a lack of hope due to a lack of faith.

And whispered in the sounds of silence
…and still we remain silent.



God bless you all, be with you all, and show you His unfailing love.
Love One Another.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Word of Mouth - Make God Famous



"Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were on the other side of the Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”" - Joshua 2:8-13


The above passage is from Rahab, the Harlot who took in the two Israelite spies when they were investigating the land of Jericho. It has always intrigued me that the enemy was at Rahab's door, and she knew it, and yet she let them in her house, and even hid them to protect them.


But if you read what she has to say about God, the God of the spies, it is explained. Rahab feared these men and all of the Israelite army because she had come to know their God, which is Our God.


But in these times there was no Fox News, or CNN. There were no newspaper or online media. God became famous because His ways were talked about. His people made Him famous among a people they did not know. They got the news from Sihon and Og being destroyed, the Red Sea parting, The people had become 'fainthearted', worried because of their God.


Compare this to today. How many people actually are 'fainthearted' at hearing what our God has done? How many ask us to remember them when our God's wrath comes? People no longer respect God and His will because they no longer understand who God is; His power, His wisdom, or His love.


Fox News and CNN won't be talking about the wonderful things God has done for you, the battles He has fought, the blessings He has brought, the promises He has fulfilled. It's up to you to make God famous, and still today, word of mouth is the way to do it.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Walking in Faith

“Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”; So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.“ – Luke 17:12-14

Picture with me the scene in the above passage.  Ten men ignored and isolated due to a disease with no cure.  Everyone that encountered them kept their distance for fear of becoming like them.
Except Jesus. 
When they cried out to Him, He answered.  But his answer wasn’t “I’ve heard your cry and you are healed” or “Your faith has made you well, go in peace.” In this passage there’s a lesson for those of us who have wavering faith, whose prayers are more of a list of wishes than prayers of faith.
What Jesus said is “Go”, and they were going before they were healed.  The passage says they were healed as they went. 
Logically, they would have said, “This is crazy! Here we are lepers and we’re going to the priests?  They’ll not come near us!  They’ll throw us out!”  Or, “Look at us, my skin is oozing still.  When will this oozing end Jesus?  You know I cannot go there looking like this.” 
But they had to walk in faith that their healing would come before they reached the priests.  And, it did!
God’s actions are not always completed in microwave seconds.  But our prayers are instantly heard and attended.  While not all are a “Yes”, and some are in fact a resounding “No” for your own good.  But those that fall into a third category of “Wait” require us to walk in faith.  Praying without ceasing in this season of waiting is not to bend God’s actions, for He already has your answer.  He knows the end from the beginning.  Instead, your prayers are evidence of faith, or evidence of fear and trembling.  When you have faith, there is no fear and trembling, but peace resides as you wait.
There’s nothing wrong with praying where you have no faith, with fear and trembling.  David prayed with fear and trembling in Psalms 55, the woman with the issue of blood approached Jesus with fear and trembling in Mark 5.  This is how your faith grows!  Philippians 2:12 says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.  You faith walk must be built with things that test your faith, and cause you to fear.  How else will you see the faithfulness of God?  How else would you grow to know His heart?
In the waiting moments, walk in faith.  If the answer is no, you’ve still gained a greater relationship with Christ.  If the answer is yes, you’ve gained a testimony to help others walk in faith.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Be Yourself!


“Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” - Daniel 6:20

To read this verse, you'd never think it came from the mouth of a man who was willing to kill Daniel for not bowing to him and worshipping him. King Nebuchadnezzar called God "the living God", and said "whom you serve continually". The Bible tells of it, but with just this one verse, it's obvious Daniel had shown his relationship with God to the King. And because Daniel did this, in spite of the threats and roaring lions, the King knew the living God.

I've come to realize something in the past 10 years or so. The more I voice my relationship with Christ, the more I make it an open topic, and the more I find that there are Christians all around me. They are silent about their relationships because no one has opened the door to the freedom to speak. Some of my best relationships started with simply voicing that I cannot separate the Christ in me from who I am. For me, it would be like trying to drop my accent, or to masquerade as someone else. I am who I am, and being in Christ defines me.

We've been slowly and quietly silenced by popular opinion, the fear of being offensive, and sensitivity training. Friends, I'm here to tell you that you should NEVER hide who you are in Christ.

Jesus speaks about this in Luke 9:25-26, saying "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels."

Ashamed. That's not what I want to hear at his coming.

Friends, we're hear for one reason: To make God famous. We are lighthouses in the darkness for those that look for peace and forgiveness. But if you're light is overshadowed by a fear of shining, they'll never find you.

Go ahead! Be yourself! It's better to offend those in this temporary life, than to offend the One who you will live with eternally. Let the lions roar! They can't harm you.

Monday, January 7, 2019

A Recipe for Contentment




“… for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” – Philippians 4:11

We often read this verse from Paul and consider Paul as having risen to a state of contentment we all hope to achieve.  Who doesn’t want to be content when we’re sick or healthy, wanting or fulfilled, insufficient or overflowing? 

But this verse could have been reworded to say, “God’s taken me through struggles to teach me to be content in whatever state I’m in”.  I dare saw myself and many others would not be so quick to wish for what Paul had if it were worded that way.

None of us want the struggles that God brings to our lives, or that our own behavior brings.  But in all things, in all ways, God is molding us into who He needs us to be.  His children are never forsaken. 

Sometimes the place you are in is so dark that you cannot see the shadow of His hand.  In those times, your faith grows as your heart yearns for Him to draw you closer.  And as He does show up in actions, in His word, in the words of others, our heart feels His love. 

Paul gave advice before expressing his contentment in this verse.  He said:
1.       Stand fast, don’t be moved (Verse 1).
2.       Unite yourself with others (Verse 2).
3.       Help others who are working His will (Verse 3).
4.       “Rejoice Always”, find the good in everything (Verse 4).
5.       Be gentle to everyone (Verse 5).
6.       Don’t be anxious, but pray about everything, and be thankful (Verse 6).

Following these six verse of advice, Paul expresses the outcome of this recipe of behavior.

“ and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Verse 7)

Is that not where contentment comes from?  Is it not from peace in our hearts and minds?