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November 30, 2016, 12:00 AM

The Sound of Silence

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. As we enter into this Season of Advent I want to challenge you to practice the discipline of silence – the discipline of watching and waiting for Christ’s coming in our hearts and lives. May we faithfully reject all that would cause us to rush through this season without hearing His voice. May nothing take precedence in our lives above knowing, experiencing and living out the life of Christ. He is the One who has come, is coming even now, and will come again.

A key factor in our ability to know and experience Christ’s advent is our willingness to practice the habit of silence in His Presence. As we noted this past Sunday, it is for this very reason that the Scripture is ripe with calls to this discipline. Psalm 37:7 declares, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 46:10 challenges us, “Be still and know that I am God.” And again, we find in Ecclesiastes 3:7b, “[There is…] a time to be silent and a time to speak.” To put it another way, how can He speak to us if our mouths are always moving? How can we enjoy His Presence if we are constantly on the go? Sadly, many believers flee from this discipline.

M. Basil Pennington writes: “Unfortunately, in seeing ourselves as we truly are, not all that we see is beautiful and attractive. This is undoubtedly part of the reason we flee silence. We do not want to be confronted with our hypocrisy, our phoniness. We see how false and fragile is the false self we project. We have to go through this painful experience to come to our true self. It is a harrowing journey, a death to self – the false self – and no one wants to die. But it is the only path to life, to freedom, to peace, to true love. And it begins with silence. We cannot give ourselves in love if we do not know and possess ourselves.”

Friends, will you freely put yourself in the “time-out chair” during this Advent Season? Being still before the Lord is challenging, but it need not difficult. At least not as difficult as we make it out to be. In the simplest of terms, silence is the practice of stillness under the Word of God. It is nothing else but waiting on God’s Word and coming from it with a blessing. As Pennington declares, “Silence is the very presence of God – always there. But activity hides it. We need to leave activity long enough to discover the Presence – then we can return to activity with it.”

I invite you to pray the following with me: O God, God, my Father, I have no words, no words by which I dare express the things that stir within me. I lay bare myself, my world, before you in the quietness. Brood over my spirit with your great tenderness and understanding and judgment, so that I will find, in some strange new way, strength for my weakness, health for my illness, guidance for my journey. This is the stirring of my heart, O God, my Father. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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