Being Still

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

 

Be still and know that I am God. Psalms 46:10a

For me, this is one of the simplest yet most profound scriptures in the Bible. In a world where we are inundated with so much “noise” in our lives—texting, Instant Messaging, FB msgs, FaceTime, emails, voicemails, tweets…it is hard to be still anymore. It is hard to still the noise in our heads, the chaotic thoughts, worries, fears in our mind and know that despite the chaos in our own lives, our God is there, as He has always been…The same God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob…He is all powerful, fully able to provide everything and anything we need.

I remember when 911 happened. In one morning, life as we Americans knew it changed so dramatically. In one instant, the cocoon of safety we had believed surrounded us evaporated like the morning fog. When the first tower was hit, we all thought it was some freak accident. But when the second tower was hit and then the Pentagon, we knew.  The news of that morning revealed one crushing blow after another, and we knew we were being attacked at the very core of our country. As we watched those World Trade towers crumble like dust to the ground, we momentarily had to remind ourselves that we were watching the news and not some science fiction movie.

But I also remember something else that people talked about over and over again in the coming weeks and months. Where is God? How could He have allowed this to happen? Why us, God?

Be still and know that I am God.

The peace we experience in our lives is not a result of a worry-free or peaceful life. Peace is initially fighting through our disappointment when things and life are not going our way and getting back to that point where we trust God again and give him the benefit of the doubt.  It’s asking how do we fit in His plan.

Be still and know that I am God.

The peace we experience during turbulent times comes from the knowledge that God, despite all appearances, is always in control, and although His ways are not our ways, it is in hindsight, His best for us.

Being still doesn’t mean being passive and waiting for your answer to arrive served on a silver platter. Being still means knowing you’ve done your part and then waiting on God to do the rest. But therein lies one of our fundamental challenges as believers…waiting on God’s timing.

Often as we wait, doubt creeps in…perhaps God has forgotten us…or maybe He is not going to do anything anyway…our thoughts and fears can often run away from us and lead us into disbelief.

Be still and know that I am God.

What personal “911s” have you endured in your own life? Not all of them have to be catastrophes or epic in scope. But all of us experience our own life questioning moments.

Perhaps like me, it’s a company layoff…or for some, it’s a marriage that is on the brink of divorce…or a sickness…

Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, take a moment today…even if only at the stop light on your commute to work…to know and experience God in the quietness of your soul.

Be still, my friend…Allow Him a moment to speak to you, if only to remind you of His love for you and that He has a plan for your life.

Our God was, is, and always will be the true, only, living God.

Revel in that knowledge. Remind yourself, if God is for you…who can stand against you?

Be still…

 

Finding Refuge During the Storm

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

To me, there is almost nothing more satisfying than lounging on my living room couch with a blanket, hot cocoa, and a good book in the midst of a storm and torrential downpour outside. As I watch the rain thrash against my window pane and I listen to thunder boom outside, I sink deeper into my couch and sigh with blissful satisfaction and peace. I love the feeling of warm and comfort my blanket and hot cocoa give me. I love the support and security that my fluffy couch provides. And I love the safety and security I feel, knowing that I am in my home, protected from the raging storm outside.

That, my friend, is what it is like when we find our refuge in God. Like our home, he protects us in the midst of the storm. Like our blanket, He covers us, providing us with sustenance, with comfort, with peace. We can rest assured, knowing that despite whatever is going on outside, He is with us inside, protecting us, comforting us.

Before he became king, David had to find his refuge in God. He literally had to live and hide in caves as King Saul pursued him. Imagine his predicament from his viewpoint. As a teenager, Samuel showed up in him home, anointing him the next king of Israel…and years later, in his early 20s, where is he? Is he sitting on the throne, being fanned by palm leaves and fed grapes while also ruling a nation? No, he is running from cave to cave, living like an outlaw as he awaits God’s appointed time.  Imagine the despair, the frustration, the disappointment he had to battle through as he struggled during that time. You actually don’t have to imagine it…you can read about it in many of the psalms he wrote. You can hear the despair in his voice as he pleads with God to protect him from his enemies. He faced setback after setback, but the scriptures tell us, David encouraged himself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30: 6).

Sometimes the struggles we face are torrential downpours and we can find comfort and safety in our home, watching and knowing we are safe…but sometimes, those torrential downpours are like hurricane winds, threatening to blow our house down…or like a tornado that leaves nothing in its path unscathed. But again, that is when we have to dig in deep and find our comfort, peace, and security in our faith and God.

There is a childhood song I remember singing in Sunday School:

The Wise Man Built His House

The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rain came tumbling down

Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the wise man’s house stood firm.

The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
And the rain came tumbling down

Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the foolish man’s house went “splat!” [clap hands once]

So, build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
And the blessings will come down

Oh, the blessings come down
As your prayers go up
The blessings come down
As your prayers go up
The blessings come down
As your prayer go up
So build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ.

So what is your “house” built on? If it’s built on God, even hurricane winds and tornadoes cannot touch the security and protection that only God can provide. He will envelop you under his wing and protect you through the storm…until that appointed time, when you will soar like an eagle.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

While You Wait…

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Waiting. Waiting for a husband. Waiting on Florida to finally feel like home. Waiting on a good job.  Waiting on the economy to improve. Waiting for our business to pick up.

If I had to describe one of the more prominent themes of my life during my 20s and 30s, it would probably be waiting on God. I can’t remember a time since college when I wasn’t waiting for something in my life to change or improve.

Two weeks ago, my pastor preached on the life of Joseph and how he “failed” and suffered for not his own mistakes, but insteade due to the lies and deceit of first, his own family, and then later, due to the lies of his boss’s wife.  As he preached on Joseph, my pastor promised us a profound comment regarding Joseph’s life and how we should handle life when it treats us so unfairly. After all, who better than Joseph could understand how difficult and challenging it can be to wait on God. Brace yourself, you don’t want to miss this. My pastor said, “Faith is born in a moment but grows over a lifetime.”

Huh?

Yeah. I get it. I felt the same way. As I waited for my pastor’s words of insight, I immediately sat upright in my chair, pen ready to write these words of wisdom. But when he said it, “Faith is born in a moment but grows over a lifetime,” I looked at my pastor confused and honestly, a little disappointed. I was waiting for an epiphany. I was waiting for spiritual insight that I could use to encourage myself during my own time of waiting.

“Faith is born in a moment but grows over a lifetime.”   

But think about it…the moment, we give our life to Jesus, Faith immediately blooms in our hearts like a wildflower. It takes root. But it is the course of our life, that our Faith is tested, tried, and proven.

When we wait on God, we are putting our faith directly into action. After all, it takes faith to believe God will move. It takes faith to believe that things are going to change even though everything in our life may indicate the opposite. It takes faith to trust and wait on God.

And who, out of all our great Biblical forefathers, didn’t have to wait?

  • God promised Abraham a child much earlier, but it wasn’t until he was a 100 years old that Abraham saw his promise fulfilled.
  • Joseph was in his teens when God showed him that he would be a leader and that others would bow and respect him, but he didn’t see it come to reality until he was 30.
  • Scholars estimate that King David was in his preteens when Samuel anointed him King, but he, too, didn’t become king until he was 30.
  • Moses spent 40 years in exile in Midian before God brought him back to lead the people out of Egypt.

Faith is definitely one of the more challenging spiritual muscles to develop…but it is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding. Unfortunately, faith cannot be practiced in hindsight…neither is it 20/20. It 100% requires that same leap of faith that you took when you initially accepted Christ as your savior. It’s believing in God’s promises and what He’s personally revealed or promised to you. It’s rarely easy but the testimony you will have later will be priceless.

So what are you waiting on God for? Have you asked yourself, instead, maybe what He is waiting on you for?

Remembering God

by Bindu Adai-Mathew

Two weeks ago the very thing I had been dreading since last June finally happened. I saw my Instant Messenger icon flashing on my computer screen and saw it was our CIO messaging me, asking me to stop by his office. As I trudged to his office, I almost felt as if I were back in elementary school being called into the principal’s office. I listened as he went on about how after our company was bought by the new company, he was being pressured to create “synergies” in IT, which would require him eliminating close to 60 jobs, including mine.  As he droned on with his corporate-speak, I sat there numbly.

Here we go again. I had just gone through another layoff just a year ago. Ironically, when I arrived at my new company, I was almost relieved to find that all my co-workers had been working there the last 9 to 12 years. Finally, I had thought back then, a place where I could hang my hat up and stay at one place. And then six months into my new job, the announcement came that another company was buying ours, which would probably result in a massive layoff.

As shock gave way to worry, panic soon began to set it. I would not only have to find a new job, but I had to worry about insurance since I was the policy holder. What if I didn’t find a job quickly? What if no one wanted me? What if…

Those runaway thoughts morphed into a cloud of despair that hovered over my head for hours, and I found myself feeling overwhelmed, defeated, hopeless.

But finally, a ray of light…a thought…finally penetrated through the darkness. Hadn’t God provided before? Hadn’t this job alone and the experience I gained here already set me on a more secure career path? Why was I freaking out?

Again, my spirit prompted me to think of the children of Israel as they wandered through the desert. Despite everything God had done for them, every time they faced an obstacle, they panicked. God had parted the Red Sea, he had provided them with manna during the mornings, and fire to warm and guide them at night. Yet, they still doubted.

Our lives, too, can often feel like we, too, are wandering in our own desert. Lost, aimless, confused about where we are headed. But no matter how many obstacles we face or how often we face the same ones, we must remember to dig in our heels deep in our faith and wait expectantly and excitedly on our Lord. Because He WILL provide. In a few weeks, and maybe even by the next post, I cannot wait to give my praise report.

But as we wait, we must be diligent to do our part. We must find refuge in His Word, devouring it like our daily bread, so it can provide us with sustenance throughout the day. Sustenance when we get tired, discouraged, and hopeless.

Here is a passage of scripture that I’ve been meditating on for the past weekthat’s reminded me that He will always take care of His people and our part is to seek Him, trust Him, and find our refuge in Him:

Psalms 34

1 I will extol the LORD at all times;    his praise will always be on my lips. 2 I will glory in the LORD;    let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3Glorify the LORD with me;    let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;    he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant;    their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;    he saved him out of all his troubles. 7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,    and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the LORD, you his holy people,    for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,    but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, listen to me;    I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Whoever of you loves life    and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil    and your lips from telling lies. 14Turn from evil and do good;    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,    and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,    to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;    he delivers them from all their troubles. 18The LORD is close to the brokenhearted    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,    but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20he protects all his bones,    not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;    the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD will rescue his servants;    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

What If…there were no Jesus?

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

What if there was no Jesus?

 My pastor raised this question during yesterday’s sermon, and answers just flooded my thoughts.

 There would be no heaven.

There would be no hope.

There would be no peace.

 Having been raised in a Christian home, Jesus has always been part of my life. But as I’ve gotten older, my problems and struggles have also gotten bigger. Job layoffs. A struggling economy. Dwindling investments. Life isn’t easy and sometimes it can be downright overwhelming. I cannot imagine not being able to pray. I cannot imagine not being able to lean on Him and hope in Him that despite my struggles, things can and will get better. He is my hope in this life. He is my friend when other friends let me down or when they cannot be there for me at that moment.

 Interestingly enough, our pastor brought up things I never even considered. There would be none of the great paintings we know like The Last Supper or sculptures like The David. Many of the great universities were established based on Christianity. There would be no schools. Or orphanages. Or charities.  The list went on and on. Many of the things in our modern life have roots that are borne out of a relationship with Christ.

As we are now officially into Christmas season, in the midst of the chaos of shopping for the perfect Christmas gift or decorating our homes in red and tinsel, or taking vacations to be with our family, let us not forget the true reason for this Christmas season. And let us not forget to celebrate the amazing love of a Heavenly Father who would knowingly sacrifice His Only son so that we each could know Him, too. Let us continue to have that spirit of Thanksgiving in our hearts through the holidays and into the new year.

 18This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

23“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!

She will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel,

which means ‘God is with us.’”  Matthew 1: 18-23

 Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Son. Because of Him, we have hope. Hope on this earth, and hope for heaven. May our lives touch someone else  this holiday season so that they, too, may experience the wonder and blessings of your most Perfect Gift.

 

 

 

Something in the Air

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Perhaps it’s the cool winds after the three months of blistering, sweltering heat. Or the beauty and richness of gold, maroon, and marigold colored leaves.

Or perhaps it’s the memories of yesteryear…of a new school year…of homecoming dances…football games…band practice…

 Or maybe it’s the beginning of holiday season…a season of festivities…of dressing up for Halloween…of pumpkins…pumpkin spiced lattes…and pumpkin pie.

Or maybe it’s Thanksgiving itself…buttery corn on the cob…sweet, candied potato casserole, succulent juicy turkey, and yes, more pumpkin pie.

Or maybe it’s the prelude to Christmas…the smell of fresh pine needles in the house…candles laced in sweet cinnamon and vanilla scents…colorful trees decorated in memories of Christmas past.

 There is something undoubtedly magical about this time of year, isn’t it?

 Growing up, it was the spring that I always longed for…or summer…but now as an adult, it’s the Fall…the months of October through December that somehow bring a smile to my lips and a warmth to my heart. There is a festivity and an excitement in the air…of things to come and of memories past.

 Tomorrow as you sit around the table with your family, I hope that you, too, feel the beauty and wonder of this season.

 This season is our modern day harvest. A time where we can sit around and enjoy the fruits of our labor and the bountiful blessings of our merciful, generous God. So tomorrow…Eat. Drink. Enjoy. Give thanks.

 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. 2 Corinthians 9:10

Thank you, Lord, for your blessings are indeed great!

Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

By Bindu Adai

This morning I wanted to share one of my favorite psalms with you: Psalm 100

1Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!

2Worship the Lord with gladness.

Come before him, singing with joy.

3Acknowledge that the Lord is God!

He made us, and we are his.a

We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving;

go into his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and praise his name.

5For the Lord is good.

His unfailing love continues forever,

and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

 Let us enter into Thanksgiving week with praise in our hearts. We have SO much to be thankful for! And let us resolve to start each day in the new year with gratitude.