Psalm 46:1,10,11

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear….

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.

I am a blessed wife of 25 years to Greg and a mother of two, now grown adults. I’m also the oldest of four girls- having a fourteen year age difference between me and the youngest.  One thing for certain we can all relate to are the difficulties and hardships of life.  

From dysfunctional family issues, threats of lay-offs at work, raising a strong-willed child, finding the balance to spend time with your spouse, a loved one with drug addiction, even dysfunction within the church family – no matter the circumstances- mundane to life changing, God provides!

As the song writer states in Psalm 46 that God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear….

Scripture continues, describing and asks us to see the works of the Lord.  Then in verse 10- 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.  

“Be still and know” are very much action words as we place our faith and trust in Him alone. I have this visual when I read Psalm 46 of our heavenly Father, taking me by the chin, lifting it upward so I can look at Him and He says these very words, to me “be still and know I am GOD”.  

Friends, I pray you find this refreshing and reassuring as we do life together, to know of such Hope, the Creator of all things – He is in control, and we need to be still.

Father God, I ask on days of uncertainty what it looks like to “be still”. Holy Spirit guide us to the Word that we abide and look to you Lord as it is nourishment to our bones and feeds our soul. As we plan our day and see the busyness that lies ahead may we look to You first in all things, otherwise we know we’ll become overwhelmed and chaotic- even still – may we find rest in You alone.  Help us to not live in fear, for You are always with us. May we live our lives exalting You.  To God be the glory! Amen!

– Kimberly Miller

Psalm 139:1-6

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

Who is this God? No one on earth knows me like that. Even my own family, the people who know me best, do not know me that well. My fiancée, Madison, is starting to understand me. She has a pretty good idea of my routine and has an uncanny ability to know how I am feeling long before I have taken the time to put words to it. Yet, even she does not make claims anywhere as strong as the ones made in the beginning of Psalms 139. Even the first verse speaks of a God that is intentional beyond any person I have ever met.

You know that feeling you have after meeting someone special? Certain people, after only talking to them for a few minutes, have a way of making you feel felt and cared for. It feels freeing to be known and to have someone take time to care about what is going on in your head. God was the one who did that first. Not only that, He does it better. He doesn’t just care enough to ask me how I am feeling or what I am thinking about, He knows me. Verses 1-4 echo an intentionality that we cannot comprehend. The writer of this Psalm acknowledges it too, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.” Part of this wonder has to come from the fact that God does not just know us; He touches us in a way that communicates, “I choose you.” Verse 5 says that God lays His hand upon me. He sees me in all my self-sufficiency, in all my selfishness, and in all my human weakness. Despite all that, He chose to put me on this earth, He asked me to be a part of His story, and He affirms me as His child. That last part, in reference to His laying His hand upon me, makes me think of times when I’ve decided to do something really hard, and my mom or dad has put their hand on my arm. They don’t even have to say anything. Just by letting me know that they choose me and are standing by me, that makes me feel like I could fly. By noticing that God has laid His hand upon us, what couldn’t God do in our lives?

The reason I chose to reflect on this verse is because I need to be reminded that my success and identity is found in His choosing me as His child. Right now, in life, I am in the process of applying to medical school and preparing to enter into married life. There are a lot of changes going on and a lot of unknowns. These things have a way of tempting me to feel like I must be sufficient on my own. When I allow these things to take my eyes off Christ, I feel alone. A false identity can take over in those moments. Praise God for a verse like this that dispels those false mindsets. In times like these, I’d encourage you to ask yourself, “Why am I being drawn to self-sufficiency?” “Why am I forgetting that I am not alone?” When you have identified those areas, take a moment to hear the words of these verses once again. Let God, who IS actually present with you, touch your arm and remind you that He not only knows you, but He has chosen you.

Dear Lord, remind us with your gentle touch that you created us intentionally. Remind us that you have a purpose for our lives and that you have promised to hold us up through all of life’s seasons. Thank you for being our identity and taking the burden off of our shoulders. We love you God. Amen.

– Matias Malkamaki

Psalm 73:23-26

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Not too long ago, I heard news which shook me. A friend of mine, on a trip to Israel, had suffered a stroke while in Jerusalem. He is a godly man, not much older than me, who was instrumental in my conversion to Christ. He is also a wonderfully gifted man, a giant of the faith, author of many Christian books, eloquent speaker, with a sharp, incisive mind, leader of a group of Christian brothers who have left all for the sake of Christ and his service. But to many people, he is known most of all as a gifted composer of songs which he shares in his beautiful lilting voice, and are now sung by thousands of Christians every week all over the world.

In the aftermath of his stroke, his once prodigious memory was lost, his sharp mind was dulled, but perhaps most devastatingly, he lost his gift of music – no longer able to play the stirring notes that once flowed from his guitar, no longer able to compose songs that lifted hearts in worship, and no longer able to inspire others with his strong soulful voice. He was once asked by his despondent friends how he felt about losing this gift. Amazingly, he responded, “If the Lord took it away, it must not be important to Him. I am content.”

This, to me, was astounding! God had showered my friend with many incredible gifts and he had built a reputation by his faithful use of those gifts. But…he was not defined by his gifts or his reputation. His strength may have failed; his gifts taken away; his ministry changed. But his identity is secure: Child of God! His inheritance endures: Co-heir with Christ! His heart’s desire remains: Christ alone!

My friend’s response to trial and loss convicts me. I have built a reputation on the things I do well, as a physician at work, as well as my other skills and abilities. Many times, I find myself tempted to find my identity in what I do rather than who I am – a sinner saved by grace and adopted into the family of God through the finished work of Christ on the cross!

Father, we know that you do not promise us happiness in this life, but rather, seek our holiness. In your sovereignty, all may be taken from us: our health, our job, our gifts, our reputation, our family, our friends. Help us not to build our lives on these, so that we may be able to withstand the storms that life will bring us. Set our hearts on Christ alone, that He might be our refuge and strength and our portion forever!

“O my soul! Claim nothing as your own. For you, there is God and God alone!” From the song God Alone! Written by my brother-in-Christ, John Keating

– John Baron