I believe that America's greatest need is to 'Be Still and Know God'.
(I guess I could have entitled it "What to do with Boredom")
This week I picked up an old Bible of mine and scanned through the book of Psalms...
that I had marked in red. I was amazed at how often it says "Be still and know God".
~"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10)
~"Commune with your heart upon your bed and be still" (Psalms 4:4)
Isaiah also knew what was needed for he wrote:
"In returning and rest shall you be saved."
"In quietness and confidence/calmness shall be your strength." (Isaiah 30:!5)
For many yrs. my wife has had this Scripture framed, hanging by her chair. Along with it is a small picture of her sitting by the ocean, having a quiet time as she watched the waves ebb and flow.
Today it seems as though many people are never still long enough to really know God.
Knowing God should be #1 in our lives as knowing 'about God' and 'knowing Him' are very different. Life is too short to only be involved in the 'small things' of life.
There is a great old story that needs to be known....and made known.
As a pastor for over 55 yrs. I had to learn that preparing two Sunday messages (as well as messages I shared with 3 different Nursing Homes each week) took:
~time with God and His Word
While pastoring Bethel Baptist Church here in Norman for 11 yrs. I had a Saturday night regimen. I would listen to songs sung by Jack Holcomb like:
"But This One Thing I Know".
(Written by Austin Miles in 1931)
"I do not know the depths of Jesus' love,
That brought Him down to earth from Heaven above,
Nor why He bore the cross up Calvary
And shed His precious blood so willingly.
I do not know what pain He suffered there,
The burden of my sin and shame to bear.
It may be well to hide it all from me,
Lest my own heart should break in sympathy.
I do not know what I can do, or say,
My debt of gratitude to Him to pay;
But I at least may cry,"O Christ divine!
Had I a thousand lives they should be Thine."
But this one thing I know: That when the crimson flow
Dropped to the earth below, it fell on me.
My eyes were opened wide, I saw Him crucified,
And knew for me He died...on Calvary".
Another favorite of mine by Jack Holcomb was:
"I Shall Know Him" (Words: Fanny Crosby, 1891) (John R. Sweney 1837-1899)
"When my life's work is ended and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand."
After listening to Jack sing these songs, I was ready to preach!!
I mentioned last week that I would share more about Jack Holcomb's life.
When you read about the tragedies in his life, you might wonder 'how' he could go on singing, but Praise God, he did and millions have been blessed by his music!
Knowing his background makes the songs even more meaningful. I always said that he sang 'with a tear in his voice' not knowing at the time that he had been through so many difficult times.
(The following thoughts about Jack Holcomb are from writings by Roger Olson and Jim Qualls)
Jack Holcomb who was raised in extreme poverty, had a tragic life. He was raised in extreme poverty. His first wife died just a few yrs. after their marriage.
He remarried, but in 1953 his first child, a little girl of eighteen months named Jo Ellen, died unexpectedly.
Jack often told the story of looking for her body in the little casket in downtown Waco, Tx. after the terrible tornado that struck and destroyed the funeral home and all of the downtown area. He finally found her body at the cemetery where bodies had been taken.
Jack suffered several heart attacks and also had congestive heart failure.
Through it all, he sang and recorded beloved gospel songs such as...
"Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There."
In the summer of 1968 when Jack was only 47 years old, he died of heart failure in a hotel in Dallas where he was meeting with recording company executives to plan his next project.
His wife Ellen was penniless due to the enormous medical bills and Jack's inability to travel the last few months of his life. She could not afford a grave marker for him...
so he lay in an unmarked grave (next to his little daughter) until 2004.
In the summer of 2003, Roger Olson started a drive to get a grave marker for 'Mr. Gospel Music'. The cemetery and grave marker manufacturer volunteered to donate
a beautiful granite and metal grave marker for both Jack and his wife Ellen.
I thought I'd include this site so that you might be able to hear Jack sing.
Not sure if it'll work, but maybe you can 'copy and paste'.
In Joni Eareckson Tada's book "Secret Strength" she wrote:
"God uses suffering to glorify Himself. His children undergo and endure long periods of difficulty, pain and struggle. If we enjoyed nothing but ease and comfort, our world would never learn anything very impressive about God.
It would never learn that our God is WORTH serving....even when the going gets tough.
So let unbelievers see what God is doing in your life. Don't hide your heartaches and struggles, hypocritically pretending they don't exist. Instead, concentrate on staying loyal to your God in the midst of them. It may be the most convincing argument your neighbors ever see or hear about the God you love."
As has happened many times when I'm preparing these messages, God has underlined my thoughts in one way or another. After I had completed this message on Tuesday, the devotional in our 'Daily Bread' booklet for Wednesday was 'Be Still'. (Ps. 46)
I've teased La Moyne about how when she tells people about our website articles,
that she makes sure she says 'weekly'....not 'weakly'....articles :)
How I praise God for His leadership/guidance and how I thank YOU for your prayers...
as God continues to allow us to minister in this way!
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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