In Praise of Introverts

“Introverts live in two worlds: We visit the world of people, but solitude and the inner world will always be our home.” Jenn Granneman, author of the bestselling book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, and creator of IntrovertDear.com.I get my energy internally from solitude and not from external stimulation such as being in a crowd, which is a key trait of introverts. I have no problem being alone as I can fill that time with many interests. However, I don’t mind being around people, either, and I find it relatively easy to start conversations even with strangers (such as clerks in stores or people in public settings). Some famous introverts include Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Bill Gates, Eleanor Roosevelt, J.K. Rowling, Warren Buffet, Mahatma Ghandi, Michael Jordan, Meryl Streep, and Elon Musk (source here).

The Myers-Briggs Foundation defines extrovert and introvert as follows:

C. G. Jung applied the words “extrovert” and “introvert” in a different manner than they are most often used in today’s world. As they are popularly used, the term extroverted is understood to mean sociable or outgoing, while the term introverted is understood to mean shy or withdrawn. Jung, however, originally intended the words to have an entirely different meaning. He used the words to describe the preferred focus of one’s energy on either the outer or the inner world. Extroverts orient their energy to the outer world, while Introverts orient their energy to the inner world. One of Jung’s and Isabel Myers’ great contributions to the field of psychology is their observations that Introversion and Extroversion are both healthy variations in personality style. (Quote source here.)

Introverts tend to get a bad rap. Lifehack lists 16 misconceptions regarding introverts: (1) they are shy; (2) they are unemotional; (3) they don’t like working in groups; (4) they don’t like talking; (5) they are scared to look you in the eye; (6) they are poor public speakers; (7) they just want to be left alone; (8) they over-analyze everything; (9) they don’t like to go out in public; (10) they are high strung; (11) they are underachievers; (12) that they can break out of their shell and become extroverts; (13) they are rude; (14) they are no fun; (15) they don’t make good leaders; and (16) extroverts are happier than introverts (source here).

None of those items listed above are true, although I must admit that #8 tends to be something I do tend to do (e.g., over-analyze everything). As I was looking for information on the Internet on introverts, there is a treasure trove of information out there. One particular article of personal interest I found on IntrovertDear.com, published on April 18, 2019, is titled, INFJ: 9 Reasons You’re Still Single,” by Jenn Granneman, creator of IntrovertDear.com, who is the author I quoted at the top of this post. However, since the focus of this article is rather narrow, if you are interested in reading it you can read it at this link.

In another article on IntrovertDear.com, published on July 7, 2017, and titled, 7 Distinct Advantages Introverts Have Over Extroverts,” by Jetta, a freelance writer, artist, and blogger, she lists the following seven advantages:

At times, it can seem like a severe disadvantage to be an introvert. Extroverts appear to have all the fun, and their gregarious, attention-seeking personalities often allow them to reap promotions, popularity, and recognition. Introverts, on the other hand, may get passed over and have their valuable work go unnoticed. Their preference for quiet observation can sometimes be a detriment to their success in this dog-eat-dog world.

Despite this, there are many areas in which introverts have a leg up on extroverts. Many of today’s most successful people are introverts, such as J.K. Rowling, Steven Spielberg, and Mark Zuckerberg.

But introverts not only have the ability to rival extroverts professionally, they also possess a number of distinct advantages over them. Here are seven areas in which introverts shine more than their extroverted counterparts. These points may not apply to every introvert and extrovert (we’re individuals, after all), but I believe they are generally true.

The Advantages of Being an Introvert

1. Introverts are low maintenance.

While introverts may be judged for their lack of participation, they’ll hardly ever be accused of being obnoxious, needy, and disruptive. Because introverts value their space, they tend to naturally respect that of others. They’re largely independent and not clingy, and they’re generally more inclined to be polite and considerate of the impact of their behavior on others. They tend to think before they speak, whereas extroverts may blurt the first things that come to mind.

2. Introverts tend to be creative and original.

While extroverts may adopt the values of the group and what is mainstream and popular, introverts tend to have their own preferences that are less influenced by trends. They may gravitate towards things that are obscure, unusual, or downright strange. Because they spend more of their time on their own, away from the places extroverts commonly occupy, they’re apt to develop perspectives, ideas, and insights that are unorthodox and novel. The introverted theoretical-physicist Albert Einstein once stated, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

3. Introverts are shrewd.

Because of the way they’re wired, introverts are predisposed to exercising caution and deliberating thoughtfully before making a decision. This propensity for deliberation puts them at a greater advantage when it comes to things like critical thinking, problem solving, and assessing the character of another person. Because they spend more time reflecting and observing, they’re liable to accrue a deeper understanding of various aspects of life, including human behavior. This may contribute to greater judgment in business or penetrating insight as a psychologist. Introverts like to take their time to reflect on and process a decision properly so that they can choose the best course of action that they won’t later regret.

4. Introverts are generally better listeners.

The “quiet ones” tend to really listen and consider the ideas and feelings of others. In conversation, they may take mental notes and focus intently on what people are trying to express—as opposed to simply waiting for their chance to speak. Because they process things deeply, introverts are naturally more receptive and interested in taking in information than divulging it. This is why people often confide in introverts—and they are good at keeping secrets. Many introverts understand how difficult it is to open up and trust people, so they may work hard to be more trustworthy themselves.

5. Introverts are able to really focus.

Since introverts give less attention to socializing than extroverts, they devote more attention to other things. They have the ability to cloister themselves away from the rest of the world and bunker down to accomplish a task or objective. Provided there are no disruptions, they can deeply immerse themselves in solitary activities like research or writing for extended periods of time. Often, the temptations that compete for the extrovert’s attention hold no power over the introverted mind. Their ability to concentrate often allows them to become experts and highly proficient in many fields of interest.

6. Introverts cultivate deep connections with people.

Introverts prefer quality of relationships over quantity. Extroverts are more inclined to rack up a bounty of personal connections, but many of them will be casual in nature. Introverts are more discriminating in who they allow into their world, so the relationships they do form will be cherished and nurtured. The introverted personality has little interest in shallow interactions and instead prefers to establish relationships that they find meaningful and deep. They’ll invest more effort into cultivating a small number of stronger connections than a large number of surface-level associations. As a result, they’re better able at surrounding themselves with people who are trustworthy and loyal to them.

7. Introverts are more independent.

Many extroverts insist on teamwork and being a team player. Because introverts are more private, they’re inclined to cultivate a lifestyle that maximizes autonomy and self-sufficiency. Whenever possible, they prefer to work independently, and they require less supervision than most extroverts. Managers can trust them to carry out a task without being derailed or distracted by socializing. Many introverts loathe being dependent on others, and they feel empowered in being able to deal with challenges relying solely on their own merit. (Quote source here.)

In an article published in 2017 on Psych2Go.net titled, 10 Strengths of Being an Introvert,” here is that list of those ten strengths:

Susan Cain, the author of the international best seller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking lists the ten strengths of introverts.

Ten strengths of being an introvert are:

1. Quiet Temperament

Cain says that introverts have a quiet temperament which is their hidden superpower. I agree with Cain. Just because introverts are not great socializers, it doesn’t make them less powerful publicly. People with quiet temperaments have been great achievers and leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln (Cain, Mone and Moroz, 2016).

2. Creativity

As introverts spend a great deal of time in solitude, ideas spring in their minds during such a time. Right from the CEO of Apple Tim Cook, to the creators of “Cat in the Hat” (Dr. Seuss) and “Harry Potter” (J.K. Rowling) – all forms of creativity have sprung from the minds of the introverts! (Cain, Mone, and Moroz, 2016). 

3. Thinkers

Introverts are great thinkers, and most of their monologue occur in their minds. They take the time to think, think and think just the way others take the time to watch TV or listen to some music. Their quiet time, when they think a lot, it is also space for them to dream, plan, deal with their disappointments or frustrations; handle their fears or battle with their problems (Kahnweiler, 2013). Their constant thinking helps them to become better problem solvers and to rationalize and make decisions. They think through every single aspect that crosses their mind. 

4. Preparation

Introverts are good in preparation whether it comes to doing work, handling a task, or even communication, they “really” prepare. Preparation enables introverts to be ready for any kind of situation (Kahnweiler, 2013). At work, preparation helps them to do their jobs efficiently. When it comes to communication, preparation enables them to say the right things at the right time. Instead of talking a lot of things, they tend to say what is required by using the right words. 

5. Listening

Listening is one of the best qualities and strengths of the introverts. Since they tend to talk less, they listen more. They give a lot of importance to others’ non-verbal communications or body language (facial expressions, gestures, postures) and to the tone of communication. Their listening capacity helps them to be sensitive to others. They believe in engaged listening giving the space and opportunity for others to talk. 

6. Prioritizing

Introverts are good in prioritizing work, their daily schedules and the people in their lives. Since they take time to prioritize, they tend not to mismanage any of their tasks. As realists, introverts do not believe in handling too many things at the same time. They are realistic about what they can handle and what they can’t (including people). Hence they tend to prioritize their work, schedules, communication with people and social interactions ensuring that it produces satisfactory results. 

7. Focus

When it comes to focusing, introverts do the best. Kahnweiler (2013) rightly puts it “introverts seek depth over breadth.” This quality in them helps them to focus keenly by diving deep, whether it is work or relationships or knowing people. Because of their ability to focus deep, their ability to think critically, organize and make plans and implementation of the plan is done by getting into details. 

8. Role Model

Introverts are quiet role models. Leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi who were introverts lead their nations by being quiet influencers. They have stood as role models for others to follow without putting themselves at the center. What has attracted people to these quiet influencers is their modesty, quietness, gentleness, and warmth towards people. Introverts stand out as quiet influencers because they don’t use any approach to win people or adopt strategies to make others do their bidding (Kahnweiler, 2013).  

9. Stretch

Though introverts are always labeled as closed type personality with little room for socialization or getting out of their comfort zone, they do stretch at times and can come into the spotlight (Cain, Mone, and Moroz, 2016). They are like the rubber bands who pop out when required only to go back to their real self. Their ability to stretch and not be rigid is one of their strengths.  

10. Writing

Writing is the most natural and best strength of an introvert. Writing causes them to be free in their mind and being. It’s like a booster to them to write all they think freely and bring out their thoughts uninterrupted and honestly. Writing helps them to think through, refine their plans, generate breakthrough ideas and solutions which otherwise could have been difficult (Kahnweiler, 2013). As Kanhnweiler (2013) emphasizes that writing “pushes the brain to think longer, harder, deeper and more unconventionally than it normally would” which fits the introverts’ personality. (Quote source here.)

References:

Cain, S., Mone, G. and Moroz, E. (2016). Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. New York: Penguin Books.

Kahnweiler, J.B. (2013). Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference. California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

The way I see it, there are a lot of advantages to being an introvert! So don’t let the world keep you down if you are an introvert, too. And remember that . . .

Still waters . . .

Run . . .

Deep . . . .

YouTube Video: “Rock Steady” by Aretha Franklin:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here

All Things Are Possible

“I dwell in possibility”Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), one of America’s greatest and most original poets of all time.Just what is meant by the term “all things” in Mark 9:23 and Matthew 19:26? All of us at some point have circumstances or situations that come up that we’d like to see changed, yet, too often, they don’t change or they change in a way we were not hoping for, yet most of us who consider ourselves to be Christians believe that God can do all things including what seems to be impossible.

I came across an article on CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry) titled, What does it mean when the Bible says ‘with God all things are possible?‘” by Jared Wellman, a writer  at CARM since 2010, and Pastor at Mission Dorado Baptist Church. He states:

This question refers to a statement made by Jesus in Matthew 19:26 and its counterpart Mark 10:27. The totality of His statement was, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  The question is best answered by looking at the context of the statement, which, beginning in Matthew 19:16, consists of a conversation between Jesus and a young rich ruler. The keys to purely understanding the statement hinge first on what Jesus meant by “this,” and second, what He meant by “all.” Whatever “this” was is impossible with man, but with God, “all” is possible.

The scene opens up with a rich young man coming to Jesus asking Him “what good things he should do to inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:16). Jesus’ response is important because He begins to attack the young man’s understanding of “goodness.”  Jesus declares that only the Father in heaven is good. This of course was not a disclaimer of His own deity, but a lesson to His special audience that no one is good except for God. Continuing His discourse with the young man, Jesus then said, “but if you wish to enter eternal life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).

Because he still did not understand, the young man’s response to Jesus was to receive a “laundry list” of commandments that he needed to follow in order to receive eternal life.  Jesus replied by listing five commandments that all deal with human relationships (Matthew 19:18-19). This is important because He was making a distinction between having faith in the law (or in his own abilities) and having faith in God; that is, the difference between the law and grace. The young man thought that the law could save him, but Jesus knew that that was impossible. As John MacArthur has written, “Jesus was trying to impress on the young man both the high standard required by God and the absolute futility of seeking salvation by his own merit. This should have elicited a response about the impossibility of keeping the law perfectly but instead the young man confidently declared that he qualified for heaven under those terms.” “All these things I have kept,” said the young ruler (Matthew 19:20).

Even after the young man failed twice to acknowledge his self-righteousness, Jesus continued to try to expose the sin in his heart. The young man asked, “What am I still lacking?” (Matthew 19:20) Jesus replied, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21). At this, the young man “went away grieving for he was one who owned much property” (Matthew 19:22). 

At least two sins were revealed here: First, the young man was not as blameless as he thought he was because he was guilty of loving himself and his possessions more than his neighbor (which was a broken commandment according to v.19), and second, he lacked true faith which requires an unparalleled devotion to Jesus. This is when Jesus called over His disciples to teach them a lesson.  He said, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). The disciple’s response was, “Then who can be saved?” or, “Then how is it possible for anyone to be qualified to enter the kingdom of God?” (Matthew 19:25)

This is where the famous and oft quoted verse comes in, which is the inspiration for our question. Jesus replied, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). This answers our first contextual issue, for we can now see that the “this” concerns salvation. It is impossible for man to save himself by his own merits, or for the law to grant eternal life. The grace offered only by Jesus Christ is necessary. The question now is, “What did Jesus mean by ‘all things?’” 

This part of the question concerns God’s omnipotence, or, His power. It is important to understand that omnipotence does not mean that God is capable of doing anything including the irrational or imperfect. There are things that God is incapable of doing, such as lying or denying Himself (Hebrews 6:182 Timothy 2:13Titus 1:2). Because God cannot do certain things, however, does not mean that He is less God because the things that He cannot do would actually take away from His perfect nature. Instead, omnipotence refers to God’s power, which is unlimited (Job 11:7-1137:23Revelation 4:8).  That is, God can take the things that are impossible to man, and make them possible because His power is unlimited, while ours is limited.  The context of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 19:26 is a perfect example of His unlimited power because while it is possible for man to be saved, it is impossible for man to accomplish the goal on his own. God’s unlimited power is needed to make the possibly impossible, possible.

Scripture is full of verses that portray God making the possibly impossible possible.  When Abraham and Sarah were awaiting the promise of a son, even after they were well past child bearing years, God told them, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) In the book of Numbers when the Israelites were complaining to Moses about food, the Lord told Moses that he was going to feed over 600,000 people for an entire month. Moses was skeptical, but God said, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not” (Numbers 11:23). In the book of Job, after forty-two chapters of trials, Job was able to answer God and say,I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1). Jeremiah said, “Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You” (Jeremiah 32:17). Finally, in Luke 1:37, in foretelling the birth of Jesus, the angel Gabriel told Mary, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

It is easy to get hung up on the word “all,” but it is best to remember that the context of this statement is in reference to salvation. God made a way when the way was impossible for us. This is what it means that “with God all things are possible.” (Quote source here.)

In a second article titled, Is it really true that ALL things are possible with God?” GotQuestions.org gives us the following answer:

While God can do anything He wishes to do, God will not do things that would be against His holy will or contradictory to His purposes. He can commit no sinful act, for example, for He is completely holy, and sinning is not in His character.

Some will still ask, shouldn’t anything be possible for an omnipotent deity? An example may help:Can God make a stone so heavy He can’t lift it?This question contains a paradox: if the Lord is so powerful He can make a stone of infinite weight, how would it not be possible, given His mighty power, for Him to lift it? Yet, since the stone is of infinite weight, how would it be possible for Him to lift it? The answer is that God will not deny Himself, which is the case here. It seems He would not even consider such an idea, for He would be pitting Himself against Himself, a foolish act having no value in His kingdom purposes.

It is worth noting that we see throughout the Bible that God is omnipotent—all-powerful—not equaled or surpassed by anyone or anything. In discussing God’s making a dry path in the mighty Jordan River to allow the safe passage of His people, Joshua 4:24 says, “He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” Similarly, Jeremiah 32:26-27 relates,Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?’” Continuing, in Hebrews 1:3, we see, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” These verses and others show that all things within God’s will are possible for Him.

The angel in Luke 1:36-37 said to Mary, “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Some ask that, if “nothing is impossible with God,” does that mean I can run faster than a car or leap a tall building in a single bound? It is perfectly within God’s power to make those things possible, but there is nothing in Scripture that indicates it is God’s desire to make them possible. Something being possible for God does not obligate Him to actually do it. We must be thoroughly familiar with Scripture so that we can know what is God’s desire and what He has promised, and thereby know what God will make possible in our lives.

When we consider all of our heavenly Father’s mighty supernatural works throughout the Bible, we see that He indeed is capable of moving human events along the continuum of time, in spite of things seemingly impossible, all for His glorious purposes. (Quote source here.)

In an article written during the Christmas season titled, All things are possible with God,” by Angela R. Jones, Senior Pastor of The Greenhill Church and Christian Outreach Ministries, she writes:

…Today, I want to encourage you to hold on to your faith and believe that things impossible for man are possible with God. He can do the impossible because He is the all-powerful, invincible, all-knowing, infinite, faithful and everlasting God. He is Spirit, and He has supernatural power to move the impossible and see the invisible.

Let me comfort you with these words found in Romans 5:1-5 (Living Bible):

“So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it, until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

Lessons from trials build your character. Hold on with faith in God that all things will work out for your good. The believer’s hope is different from the hope in the world. Spiritual hope can be described as positive expectancy with confidence and assurance that God will uphold His promises, even when you cannot see the outcome. It is an inward possession of trust in the power and goodness of God working in your life.

The believer’s hope is deeper than positive thinking or speaking. As believers, we know that what we hope for will surely come to pass because of the one we have placed our hope in. Hope for many lies in what they can see or do. They may or may not be able to get what they long for because of human limits. Therefore, people lose hope because they are trusting in the limitations of themselves and in other human beings. But God has no limits. He can breathe life into your dead situation.

There are three characteristics of hope that I pray you will carry with you as you move into the new year:

1. Hope believes in the unseen.
2. Hope presses through trials.
3. Hope relies on the power of God.

Beloved, hold on and keep the faith because there is hope for the hopeless. God has no limits. (Quote source here.)

And since we are on the topic of “all things,” let us not forget Romans 8:28 which states: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” And remember that with God . . .

All Things . . .

Are . . .

Possible . . . .

YouTube Video: “Turn It Around” by Israel Houghton and New Breed:

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Photo #2 credit here

A White Flag Day

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. —Isaiah 55:8A couple of hours ago I published a blog post on my other blog titled, Between Palm Sunday and Good Friday, since this upcoming week is Passion Week (it’s available at this link). However, I still had the urge to “blog on” after I published it, so here I am for “Round Two”; however, the subject won’t be on Passion Week or Easter.

I read a short devotion this morning in book titled, Experience the Power of God’s Names (2017), by Dr. Tony Evanspastor, speaker, author, widely syndicated radio and television broadcaster, and founder of “The Urban Alternative.” He stated the following on page 97:

It’s human nature to respond to a situation by trying to alter the circumstances or change other people. We quite naturally put ourselves at the center of the problem, and we base our responses on feelings and emotions. but attempting to operate from our own limited perspective and understanding doesn’t usually work out well.

When we believe something is unfair, we should refrain from jumping to conclusions and taking matters into our own hands. Instead, we need to remember the God is always in control. He is Jehovah Elohim Tsaba, the Lord God of hosts, and He will always defend us and allow us to rest in His care.

Through our relationship with the Lord, His strength is made available to us. His forgiveness, grace, and mercy help right our wrongs. And when we choose to honor Him, He rewards us with His peace and His presence.

We don’t have to come up with our own solutions. We are never left alone to fight our own battles. And we’re never expected to retaliate when things aren’t going our way. Even if we have been mistreated or overlooked, we need to resist the temptation to strike back or get even. We should keep the love of God in our hearts and look to Him to right any wrongs that have occurred in our lives and bring repentance to those who have wronged us. (Quote source: Experience the Power of God’s Names,” page 97.)

Most likely we all have some unanswered questions regarding our circumstances that we’d like for someone to answer. I know I do. As Dr. Evans stated above, God is always in control, and God’s control extends everywhere to everyone and in all situations, and our understanding is vastly limited compared to his. Isaiah 55:8-11 states:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow

    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:

    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

God’s bigger picture goes way beyond our own set of perplexing circumstances, but that doesn’t mean He’s not intimately involved is what is going on in every detail of our lives and in this world. But we have to yield to God–we must yield our control to him. He didn’t make us robots; he gave us a will. We can deny him, live life on our own terms, and/or relegate him to Sunday mornings, Bible studies, etc., while keeping the rest of the week for what we want to do. That’s not yielding.

Another word for yielding is surrender. In answer to the question, What does it mean to surrender to God?” GotQuestion.org gives us the following answer:

This world is a battleground. Since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:17-19), the world God created has been in conflict with Him (Romans 8:20-22). Satan is called the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and due to Adam’s sin, we are born on his team (Romans 5:12). John Bunyan pictured this conflict in his allegory “The Holy War.” Prince Emmanuel besieges the city of Mansoul to wrest it from the power of Diabolus. Unfortunately, the citizens of Mansoul are blindly committed to Diabolus and fight against Emmanuel, to their own detriment.

When we reach the age when we can make moral choices, we must choose whether to follow our own sinful inclinations or to seek God (see Joshua 24:15). God promises that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When we find Him, we have a choice to make: do we continue following our own inclinations, or do we surrender to His will?

“Surrender” is a battle term. It implies giving up all rights to the conqueror. When an opposing army surrenders, they lay down their arms, and the winners take control from then on. Surrendering to God works the same way. God has a plan for our lives, and surrendering to Him means we set aside our own plans and eagerly seek His. The good news is that God’s plan for us is always in our best interest (Jeremiah 29:11), unlike our own plans that often lead to destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Our Lord is a wise and beneficent victor; He conquers us to bless us.

There are different levels of surrender, all of which affect our relationship with God. Initial surrender to the drawing of the Holy Spirit leads to salvation (John 6:44Acts 2:21). When we let go of our own attempts to earn God’s favor and rely upon the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, we become a child of God (John 1:122 Corinthians 5:21). But there are times of greater surrender during a Christian’s life that bring deeper intimacy with God and greater power in service. The more areas of our lives we surrender to Him, the more room there is for the filling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we exhibit traits of His character (Galatians 5:22). The more we surrender to God, the more our old self-worshiping nature is replaced with one that resembles Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Romans 6:13 says that God demands that we surrender the totality of our selves; He wants the whole, not a part: “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Jesus said that His followers must deny themselves (Mark 8:34)—another call to surrender.

The goal of the Christian life can be summed up by Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Such a life of surrender is pleasing to God, results in the greatest human fulfillment, and will reap ultimate rewards in heaven (Luke 6:22-23). (Quote source here.)

If you get as frustrated as I sometimes do with my own set of circumstances, why not make this a white flag day and surrender to Jesus and let him have complete control again, or for the first time….

You’ll be amazed . . .

What He . . .

Can do . . . .

YouTube Video: “Gracefully Broken” by Matt Redman ft. Tasha Cobbs Leonard:

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Be Still and Know

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”Psalm 46:10In our fast-paced and frenzied society, it is hard to be still for any length of time, isn’t it? GotQuestions.org gives us the meaning behind the psalm as follows:

This verse [Psalm 46:10] comes from a longer section of Scripture that proclaims the power and security of God. While the threat the psalmist faced is not mentioned specifically, it seems to relate to the pagan nations and a call for God to end the raging war. Here is the whole psalm:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

Notice that the majority of the psalm is written in the third person as the psalmist speaks about God. However, God’s voice comes through in verse 10, and the Lord speaks in the first person: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Be still. This is a call for those involved in the war to stop fighting, to be still. The word “still” is a translation of the Hebrew word “rapa,” meaning “to slacken, let down, or cease.” In some instances, the word carries the idea of “to drop, be weak, or faint.” It connotes two people fighting until someone separates them and makes them drop their weapons. It is only after the fighting has stopped that the warriors can acknowledge their trust in God. Christians often interpret the command to “be still” as “to be quiet in God’s presence.” While quietness is certainly helpful, the phrase means to stop frantic activity, to let down, and to be still. For God’s people being “still” would involve looking to the Lord for their help (cf. Exodus 14:13); for God’s enemies, being “still” would mean ceasing to fight a battle they cannot win.

Know that I am God. Know in this instance means “to properly ascertain by seeing” and “acknowledge, be aware.” How does acknowledging God impact our stillness? We know that He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), omnipotent (all-powerful), holy, sovereign, faithful, infinite, and good. Acknowledging God implies that we can trust Him and surrender to His plan because we understand who He is.

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. It was tempting for the nation of Israel to align with foreign powers, and God reminds them that ultimately He is exalted! God wins, and He will bring peace. During Isaiah’s time, Judah looked for help from the Egyptians, even though God warned against it. Judah did not need Egyptian might; they needed reliance on the Lord: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).

When we are still and surrendered to God, we find peace even when the earth gives way, the mountains fall (verse 2), or the nations go into an uproar and kingdoms fall (verse 6). When life gets overwhelming and busyness takes precedence, remember Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Run to Him, lay down your weapons and fall into His arms. Acknowledge that He is God and that He is exalted in the earth. Be still and know that He is God. (Quote source here.)

In an article published on August 13, 2018, titled, What is the Meaning of the Verse ‘Be Still and Know That I Am God’?” by Liz Kanoy, Senior Editor at Salem Web Network, she opens her article with the following two paragraphs:

“Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10, is a popular verse for comforting ourselves and others—many people tend to think this verse means to rest or relax in who God is. This verse does encourage believers to reflect on who God is, but there is more to this psalm than one verse—and verse 10 is actually more of a wake-up call to be in awe than a gentle call to rest. Taking time out of our day to meditate on Scripture and be silent with listening ears toward God is mentioned in other sections of Scripture (Psalm 119:15, Joshua 1:8, Luke 5:16, and others). But this command—“Be still…”—is written in the context of a time of trouble and war; therefore, we should consider the verse with that context in mind.

Instead of interpreting “be still” as a gentle suggestion, the meaning in this psalm lends itself more to: “cease striving” or “stop” and more specifically in this context “stop fighting,” which is directed toward the enemies of the people of God. The people of God should interpret the command for themselves to read more like: ‘snap out of it,’ ‘wake up,’ ‘stop fearing’—acknowledge who your God is—be in awe! However, it is good to note that there’s nothing wrong with the words in the translation “be still;” those words are not incorrect, it is simply helpful to note the context of the phrase. Verse 10 has something to say to both the enemies of God and the people of God, but it is the people of God the psalm is written to. Verse 1 starts, “God is our refuge and strength” (emphasis added). The Psalms are for God’s people. (Quote source here.)

In a June 29, 2017, article titled, How Do We Rest in God? 3 Lessons from Psalm 46,” by Dr. David L. Allen, Dean, School of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he writes:

Where do you run for refuge when life gets overwhelming? What truths to do you turn to? I have always loved Psalm 46. How often I have read, quoted, or shared with someone in a counseling situation. As I have been reading the CSB over the past months, I have enjoyed seeing this familiar psalm in a new light—it’s been reminding me of how this psalm can redirect our efforts and help us rest in God. Here’s what I mean:

1. Stop Your Fighting

Psalm 46:10 is rendered in the CSB as “Stop your fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”

“Stop your fighting” is somewhat unique among translations of this verse. Many Bible translations render the imperative as “Be still.” This is then applied along the lines of “we need to come aside from the hustle and bustle of daily life and get alone with God.” Certainly that is true, but there’s more going on this verse.

Since verse 10 falls in the third and final strophe of the Psalm, verses 8-12, the context of those verses is important for understanding verse 10. Notice how verses 8, 9, and 11 reference some aspect of war and fighting. The traditional translation of “be still” appears too tame for this context. “Stop your fighting” fits the context better.

Sometimes I need to be reminded that I may not only be fighting the Lord’s battles, but I may be fighting against the Lord Himself! There comes a time to lay down your arms and know that He is God—He will do as He wills with me and with the other guy.

Psalm 46 begins with the words: “The Lord is my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way … The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” This means that you and I can stop fighting in our own strength and rest in Him.

2. Take Refuge in God

[Martin] Luther’s ramshackle cart wobbled its way to Worms, Germany, in April of 1521. He had been summoned to appear before the Emperor and Catholic prelates to give an account of this new “heresy” he was teaching called “justification by faith alone.” The learned Johann Eck laid out all of Luther’s writings and then asked Luther if he was prepared to recant.

Luther retired to his room that night to think over his answer. His Bible fell open to Psalm 46. Luther returned the next morning to stand before his detractors. In response to their call to recant, Luther responded:

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

The Reformation was off and running.  

Psalm 46 was Martin Luther’s favorite Psalm. During the dark and dangerous periods of the Reformation, Luther would turn to his trusted friend Philip Melanchthon and exclaim: “Let’s sing the 46th Psalm, and let the devil do his worst!” It inspired his great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”  

No Psalm in all the Psalter expresses the tremendous truth that God’s presence and power are with us in all circumstances more than Psalm 46. We need to know God offers us two kinds of help: a stronghold into which we can flee and a source of strength by which we can face the uncertain future.  

3. Pause and Think About That

Psalm 46 is divided into three stanzas, each ending with the mysterious Hebrew word “Selah.” “Selah” was most likely originally a musical notation indicating a pause in the music for contemplation on what was just sung. You might translate it “Pause and think of that!”  

When the mountains quake, the Lord is my refuge and strength… Selah! When nations are in uproar and kingdoms fall, the Lord almighty is with us… Selah! “Stop your fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations… the Lord of Armies is with us… Selah!”

Every new year brings us 365 days of uncertainty. Every new day brings us 24 hours of uncertainty. But every second of every hour of every day, God’s presence and power in our lives is available to us. What does the future hold? It really doesn’t matter, does it, as long as Psalm 46 is true! His Kingdom is forever! So, every day, let’s reflect on Psalm 46:10 or on another passage of Holy Writ and “Selah!”—pause and think of that!(Quote source here.)

With that in mind, why not take some time today to…

Be still . . .

And know . . .

That He is God . . . .

YouTube Video: “Be Still and Know” by Steven Curtis Chapman:

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