He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

Being Still

BEING STILL

Distractions  intentional as well as unintentional bombard our daily lives like no other time in history.

We all are infected unless we have moved to a remote corner of the world with no phones, no cell service and no cable or satellite totally off the grid.

As an example, as you read this, where is your cell phone? How far is it at this moment from your person?

I remember in 1997 traveling to Singapore and Malaysia. What made the greatest impression on me about the culture was that everybody had a handheld cell phone and they were all talking on them at the same time wherever I was. It was amazing because handheld cell phones had not yet caught on here and if you had a cell phone it was called a car phone because that’s where you primarily used them.

In just 18 years look at the transformation technology has brought to us to the point that it has affected every level of our societal interactions and created a dependency for staying “plugged in” constantly.

Now I’m not writing this to down play the importance of these portable devises. In fact as I write this mine is maybe a foot away. I’m just suggesting that we slow down for half a minute and think about this and the impact of continuous electronic updates and the flood of information we swim in daily.

Saturday I had a novel experience. I was planning on heading to our beach here in our community on the bay where I like to go for some solitude as there’s usually no one there and it’s a great spot right on the water with a private sand beach.

I had been wanting to download some classical instrumental music as I have missed listening to it so I went through some old CD’s to find what I wanted and found some other old ones as well. One of them was Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged”. Not necessarily one of my favorites but I do like Clapton and thought maybe I might enjoy having it on my phone. I never got around to it but the title jumped out at me; “Unplugged”.

As I started ripping one of my classical albums, I got impatient with how long it was taking so I decided to do it later and head to the beach as it was around 3 something and it gets dark around 5. So I made my way to the beach got there did my usual routine of setting up my chair, pouring some water into a thermal mug with ice and sitting down then I realized, I didn’t bring my phone and my Bluetooth!

I thought for a moment about what to do then I realized things happen for a reason so this being the first time ever that I didn’t bring my phone, I asked the Lord, what’s up and heard “your unplugged”.

What was amazing about this was the conditions at the beach were mysteriously “quiet”. I have never been to our beach and heard so much silence. It was eerie. There were hardly any waves, the bay looked like a calm lake, there were hardly any boats and the sky hung like a light grey blanket with dark streaks and little movement.

The acoustics were like a quiet soundstage waiting for an event to start and it stayed like that the entire time I was there, for a couple of hours.

For a good while, I was quiet, listening to the quite. The waves sounded like breathing as they slowly and quietly broke the silence as they gently lapped against  the shore. I noticed sounds like someone’s AC kicking on and then going off, the boats a mile away puttering along.  An occasional jet overhead leaving Destin /Ft. Walton Beach Airport and then more silence.

I watched the pelicans sail a few inches over the water and then heard the slow prolonged splash as they landed. I watched the waves in patterns coming towards me and saw the faint ripples of a breeze skim the water and an occasional mullet jumping two or three times in a row. And then the silence would return and I just breathed and rested relaxing in the moment.

I also never wear my watch to the beach so I had no way to know what time it was other than when it began to grow dark and the lights began to come on across the water a few miles away in Destin, Okaloosa Island and Ft. Walton Beach all visible from my vantage point on the bay.

When I go to our beach for some “me time” it is a time when I reflect on what’s going on and try to connect with the Lord privately.  So, as I listened to this intense silence in a place of stillness I asked Him again  “Lord, what’s up?”,  I heard

“BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”

So I did. For a good long while I was still and tried to quiet my mind and not think about anything other than to enjoy my surroundings and take it all in. It was amazingly peaceful, relaxing and restful.

After enjoying the quiet for a good while,  I decided to meditate on this phrase one word at a time saying it over each time slowly emphasizing the next word and pausing to reflect and meditate on the meaning of each word.

What took place was amazing. It was like being taken to another realm of reality where time seemed to slow down or at least I wasn’t time conscious. I let my thoughts float around and examine each word to draw the meaning and life out of it like slowly enjoying a tasty morsel of filet mignon.

My consciousness expanded to include God in my thought process and to allow my thoughts to go in His direction. Here’s a few observations I remember that came from this experience:

Be– being not doing, existence as a created human being not human doing, just breath, it’s OK to just Be.

STILL– quite, not moving, not doing, observing, listening, waiting, peace, not thinking (which is hard to do.)

And- conjunctively connecting to the next thing which required doing the first two things; BE STILL before the next can happen.

KNOW– as in knowing intellectually however in the Hebrew “Yada”, intimately knowing, familiar, safe, secure, emotionally grounded by being known, loved and accepted completely by the one I’m invited to Be Still and Know.

That– a fact , a reality to be dealt with that is just that a fact.

I – personal identifier spoken in the first person by a person. The one who became like us, flesh and blood and who still lives in a human body in Heaven, wherever that is. I know He went up so it’s up there somewhere, another dimension like an “alternate reality” that exists at the same time as our existence yet transcends all limitations of our known reality. It has to be a place somewhere for his body to exists like a physical place right? Maybe beyond the known galaxies out there in space somewhere or maybe it’s an “other dimension” that could be right here where we are right now with like a tissue paper thin veil that separates us. (OK I got a bit carried away with this one)

AM- self existent one who self sustains all with no limit to power or dimension or scope or range; ever existing, no beginning and no end, forever yet outside of time living in what I call the eternal “now”. Beyond comprehension. What would it be like to live forever with no beginning and no end yet always  now? My head is hurting. Next word.

 GOD- what can I say that I didn’t already say. He’s God. There’s no other one, just Him. And He invites me to just, Be Still and Know that He is God. This means that all that He is is available to me to know  which is unlimited in every aspect of His person. With all eternity before us, we will always be getting to Know Him in all His fullness forever in ever increasing measure from glory to glory infinitum.

This is available for everyone who will just “Be Still” and take time to experience Him. He obviously wants to be known by us otherwise why invite us to know Him.

This is the invitation to all whosoever’s that come to Him through believing Jesus who said He is the only way to know and experience God.

And why would he offer such an invitation to know Him?

 “For God So greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” John 3:16-17 AMP

Jesus, the one who removed all the obstacles of humankind’s failings through His sacrificial gift of Himself, on a cross in our place, the One who became sin in our place so we could receive His free gift of His righteousness; the ultimate gift of love exchanged when there was absolutely nothing we could do to save ourselves and nothing we could offer to Him other than to surrender ourselves to Him and receive life eternal from Him. So one sided. All Him. None of Us. Ours to freely receive if we can just believe it is true. Undeserved, Unearned, Unmerited Favor.; Jesus truly is amazing grace offering this invitation; to Know Him.

There is a lot to this “Being Still” for us to learn. I suspect we will be growing in this from now on.

I am grateful that He arranged the circumstances so I could “unplug” for just a few moments and spend some time Being Still. I recommend intentionally taking some time to “unplug” and just Be still and Know that He is God. Then you can write something like this and post it on Facebook, like I’m doing or get a blog and let the world know about it on Word Press, or send a text with a selffie of you being still or well you get the idea. After all it’s good to share.

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