“’In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’” –Isaiah 30:15
Peace, rest, and strength are found in quietness. And yet...
We avoid the quiet in our world today. Why?
Because when all is quiet, when everything is stripped away, when distractions are left behind...
We are left with only ourselves. Our inadequacies, weaknesses, and sins. Our fears. Our unspoken heartaches and worries.
The peaceful silence we crave can also make us uncomfortable as we confront the issues we push aside during the busy day.
Someone else is in that silence. We are not alone.
There's a God who meets us there. Who is with us when the weight of our weakness, pain, and fear descend in the silence.
A God who will be our strength when we are weak.
Who exhorts us to not fear, because He promises to be at our side, almighty and all-loving.
Who weeps with us when we weep (John 11:35—one of the shortest and most powerful verses in the Bible).
He whispers words of comfort in the silence. Words of healing, encouragement, and hope that we otherwise would not hear.
As I seek to have a quiet heart, I realize that it’s not only about silencing outer distractions, clutter, noise, and busy-ness—but also silencing the inner voices of fear, doubt, worry, and expectations…
So that we can hear His voice.
And as we learn to quiet our hearts, He is there to help.
“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven” (Psalm 107: 29-30).
The One who quiets the storms and the sea can quiet our hearts.
The upbeat music blares from the radio as I drive. My cell phone beeps with a message. The sounds of traffic echo around me. A thousand thoughts swirl through my mind. Reviewing the day, planning what yet needs to be done. Regrets from the past. Worries about the future.
Amid so much noise inside and out, could I hear a still, small voice?
In the Bible, God spoke to Elijah in that still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12).
He still speaks to us today. But sometimes my heart is too cluttered and my mind too noisy to hear.
Hurried. Chaotic. Distracted. Overwhelmed. When these qualities describe my heart and life, there is no room for the still, small voice. No time to pause, to listen, to reflect.
“Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of robes, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
A gentle and quiet spirit, Peter says. This means to allow my heart to be at rest, to be open and ready to hear the faintest whisper of our God in the stillness.
And so my resolution for the new year is to have a quiet heart. To purposefully uproot the useless noise, clutter, and distractions that steal my peace. To resist the rushed mindset that tempts me to focus on how much I get done rather than the quality of what I do.
“Bestill, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
In a world that pushes us to do, He invites—commands—us simply to be.
We pray today for the all your children, but especially for your unborn children. So fragile, so vulnerable. We pray for those parents who are considering abortion of their unborn child. Work in their hearts, Lord, and show them the miraculous gift of life you have entrusted to them and the responsibility that includes.
We pray for the doctors, nurses, and medical staff who are involved in abortions. We pray for their souls, that they may see your light and your truth.
We pray for all those on the March for Life in Washington, D.C. today, and all the local marches, braving the cold to be a voice for the silent unborn. Bless them for their efforts and sacrifice.
We pray for our beautiful country, for its leaders, that they may lead with honor and integrity. Pour your grace into their hearts, that they will have the courage and conviction to fight for life in all its stages, so that we will no longer be a nation which kills its own.
Forgive us, Lord, for our apathy and indifference. Set us on fire to be bold witnesses for life in whatever opportunities you send.
I cuddled in my chair, watching the candles as I prayed. One little tealight was dimmer than the others. It looked as if it were almost ready to go out, but it continued to burn with a gentle orange glow next to the other bright, flickering candles.
Only a moment later I glanced at the candle again and noticed it burning brighter. Instead of a quiet glimmer, it had grown into a taller, shining flame—still not as tall as the others, but shining with its own light.
And in that moment, my heart related to the little candle.
Sometimes I feel bright and filled with the light of Christ. Ready to meet the day and live it for Him. To share His light with others.
But sometimes I feel my energy grow dim. My bright mood darkens with sadness or pain or weariness. I can hardly keep the embers glowing and I fear that all will be ashes soon.
I wait. I hold onto the tiny glow within. I hope.
And as time passes, the flame begins to grow again. My sparkle returns and I am grateful for more light.
Two different lights. The bright blaze, full of energy and warmth. And the tiny spark that is ready to go out, that is using everything within it to keep glowing in the darkness.
The beautiful truth is...both can glorify Him. He understands that feelings come and go, that weariness happens, that motivation wanes.
But He does ask that we keep going. That we give Him all we have, whether it be a bright blaze or a tiny spark.
This recipe would have been more timely before Christmas instead of during this month of New Year's resolutions! However, the flavors of this amazing cheesecake do have a tendency to make you forget the calories and sugar... My beautiful voice teacher has made this for years and somehow I was able to talk her into letting me help her make it this year (and copy the recipe!). Thank you, Joan!
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Crust: ½ cup butter ¼ cup sugar ½ tsp. vanilla 1 cup all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, mixing at low speed until blended. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Prick with fork. Bake 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
Filling: 4 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened ½ cup sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 4 eggs 12 oz. white chocolate, melted, slightly cooled.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Blend in melted chocolate; pour over crust. Bake 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake. Cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with raspberry pie filling, fresh fruit, chocolate curls and powdered sugar.