Tag Archives: John Stewart

Waiting on God

I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from Him.
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation,
my Fortress where I will never be shaken.
So many enemies against one man—
all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
or a tottering fence.
They plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
but curse me in their hearts.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation,
my Fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.
~  Psalm 62:1-8


Twice during this Psalm David speaks of his soul “waiting” or being “quiet” before God.  This quietness, this silence is so significant.  It is really difficult for me, at times, to be perfectly still before God.

I’ll never forget the first time I went to a classical piano concert.  There was an electric silence when the musician came and sat at the piano.  All of us in the concert hall were anticipating the moment when the silent instrument would be touched by the artist’s hand and the music would spring to life.  The breathless anticipation…  knowing the artist… knowing his reputation… ready to be transported by the music.

So, shouldn’t waiting on God be even more awesome?  After all, He alone is my rock and my salvation.  He is my refuge, where no enemy can reach me.  In the present situation, I need a “Rock”… something solid!  Someone to stand in my defense against the evil forces of the world, to protect me from all the subtle temptations of the world.  I need Him as my defense against the enemy to my soul.  Let all that I am wait quietly before God.

I compare the anticipation of hearing that concert music with the kind of anticipation I should have when I am “waiting” on the Lord.  “Let all that I am wait quietly before God.”  My soul pausing… waiting… anticipating in that electric silence the first touch of the Master Musician’s hand on the instrument of my soul.

I wait for Him with the expectation that He will keep His promises, He will fulfill His word… for my hope is in Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.  It is the expectant heart that anticipates the windows of heaven opening and the blessing of God pouring down like rain.  “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10)  Anticipate it!

If I anticipate it… expect it… quietly wait for it, He will not disappoint me.  My hope is from Him… my expectation is from Him.  The silence will break… the music will begin.  After all… I am waiting for the touch of the Master Musician.

Let Them RING!

The Basilica at Montserrat

The Basilica at Montserrat

This is a repeat of a post from 2011.  Some things bear repeating…

In 2006 my wife and I traveled to Spain for the Christmas holiday.  The day after Christmas we went to Montserrat, a monastery up in the mountains just 40 kilometers west of Barcelona.  Many people from around Europe and the world make their annual pilgrimage to Montserrat for the Christmas celebration.  We found the lack of typical holiday trappings remarkable as we traveled through the countryside and finally up the mountain to the beautiful mountaintop basilica.

We stood in the open courtyard outside the entrance to the sanctuary, overwhelmed by the blue sky and the crisp mountain air.  At that moment, the bells began to ring inviting parishioners to join the Christmas Mass.  As they rang, we began to hear the chapel bells further down the mountain begin to ring.  Then, farther away, at the bottom of the mountain, the village cathedral bells began to chime.  The sound resonated throughout our bodies.  We could feel the thunder of the bells beating in our hearts.

One of my least favorite Christmas songs has always been “Carol of the Bells”.  I always found it repetitive and a bit annoying.  As we stood in that courtyard and listened to the cacophony of bells, a familiar pattern began to emerge… a lilt… a melody…  It sang to my soul!  “Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away.  Christmas is here, bringing good cheer, to young and old, meek and the bold.  Oh how they pound, raising the sound, o’er hill and dale, telling their tale.  Gaily they ring, while people sing, Jesus is born, on Christmas morn!”

The pulse of the bells filled every corner of the world… they pounded and rang joyfully, unceasingly, sending the message of Christmas far and wide… but even more significantly, deep into me!  In that moment, I didn’t want them to stop… I wanted the ringing to continue forever.  Thankfully it does.  The truth of Christ’s birth and redeeming work continually rings and pounds and resonates in my soul.  Needless to say… “Carol of the Bells” has become one of my favorite Christmas songs.  Let them ring!!

Are they ringing in your heart and soul?

Don’t Be Afraid

2 Kings 6:16

“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!”

This is a “don’t be afraid” for those overwhelmed at the magnitude of the forces that seem to be against them.  It was truly an appalling sight for Elisha’s servant.  Dothan, their residence at that time, was on an isolated hill in a wide plain.  Getting up early  to attend to his accustomed tasks before his master rose, the servant saw a great number of the enemy surrounding the village.  They were completely undefended and apparently at the mercy of this great adversary.  No, we are not at all surprised by the servant’s alarm and dismay.  It must have been an overwhelming sight.

The King of Syria was at war with Israel.  His method of warfare was not by a regular, continued invasion, but by dashes across the border on undefended places.  But he found himself forestalled at every juncture.  Whatever place they decided to attack they found their plans were known, and the carefully planned surprises were defeated.  No wonder he suspected treachery, and, calling his servants together, challenged them regarding these matters.  Their immediate answer implied that they were privy to Elisha’s intervention.  They declared that Jehovah revealed those carefully made plans of theirs to Elisha who instructed the King of Israel.  Therefore the Syrian king determined to send an expedition for the capture of Elisha, never dreaming that this servant of the Lord, who knew all his former schemes, might know of this one, too.

No; we are not at all surprised at the servant’s fear.  And there is no wonder that we, too, are appalled as we think about the forces that are against us.  Around us, even worse foes circle… and not with bright armor as did the foes at Dothan.  A recently retired businessman, in a letter, said:  “These are treacherous times we are living in, and it seems as if our enemy is able to attack us with incredible force in these last, dark days.”  These words ring true.  All the Satanic forces seem to have united in one desperate onslaught against the forces of righteousness and truth, and against God’s own people.  God’s people are not ignorant about these bitter and fierce attacks.

We are as helpless to cope with them as this servant was.  But, why should we fear?  This incident teaches us that we are not alone and deserted even when we seem to be.  Like Elisha, it is our duty, not so much to pray that the Lord would be with us, as to recognize that He already is!  Elisha did not pray that the Lord might come, He was there already.  The manifestation was the miracle,  God’s messengers are always near us.  Remember this; recognize the presence of God and DON’T BE AFRAID.

1 John 4:4

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

Psalm 34:7

For the angel of the LORD is a guard;  he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

The Light from Heaven

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,” ~ Luke 1:78

Once again we commemorate when the bright shadow of God fell upon us in the form of a little baby born to a virgin.  It is a perpetual reminder of God’s mercy.  A reminder of when a bright ray of morning light shone from heaven into our dreary world.  A ray of hope, a beacon of promise, an incarnation of God Himself.  Merry Christmas, everyone.  May the “morning light from heaven” shine forever upon you.  May God Himself impart His tender mercy to you as you enter a new year.

Being Thankful

“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”  ~  Psalm 28:7

I am reminded daily that being thankful is a choice.

The simple act of living creates obstacles for us.  Life changes on us.  We can allow the changes and obstacles to create bitterness and anger, or we can choose to allow the Lord to be our strength and our shield… we can choose to trust Him with our whole heart and allow Him to help us turn those obstacles and changes into deep, transforming joy.  It’s not about being joyful for the circumstances… it’s about being joyful for having a God who can turn our disappointment into thanksgiving!

Today… I AM thankful!


Psa_27:14 “Hope in the Lord God; be of good courage, and He shall make your heart strong; yes, hope in the Lord God.”

I was looking in my Bible this morning and noticing how many times the phrase “be of good courage” or “be courageous” is repeated. Apparently, we need to be reminded often.

I look at this particular scripture and it gives us the key for being courageous. The key is found in whom we place our hope… our trust!

How many times have I put my hope, my trust in things that are untrustworthy? In this scripture I am reminded to place my entire hope and trust in the God of the universe… The Creator of all things…

But even more than placing my hope and trust in Him… I am also given a promise! HE will make my heart strong! I don’t have to muster up courage from somewhere deep within myself. I don’t have to do it in my own strength. God Himself will make my heart strong… HE will give me that “good courage”.

Experiencing God’s Peace

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” ~ Philippians 4:6-9

This passage keeps coming up in my devotional time.  Just when I think I’m getting a handle on the worrying thing… God, are you trying to tell me something?

There is nothing I cherish more than God’s peace.  I’m getting there.  What I’m discovering is this… it is a daily commitment.  I have to choose each day to trust God.  As I do this, His peace comes.  The process of thinking on good things is a discipline.  Lord, help me discipline my mind to think on good things so I can experience Your peace.

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