The Whisper

In Mind, Soul by Caleb

After the noise, disruptions, and inner chaos, if we keep listening, we’ll hear the whisper.

And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:12

The Spirit is always whispering. Maybe He’s humming, singing, beat-boxing, or calling-out…but the question is, are we tuning in? Are we listening? Are we fighting through all the competing noises and distractions—outside and inside us?

Most people resist the quiet. Even when they’re courageous enough to sit in silence and be still, they find that all kinds of things rise up from within and listening to the quiet voice of God seems impossible. But, when we move past the to-dos, the trauma, and the insecurities, we move into the realm of the eternal, where the Spirit is whispering.

Expect to encounter worries. Tell them, “You are not from God.” And stay still.

Expect to feel the insecurities rise up. Tell them, “You are not from God.” And stay still.

Expect to think of the problems that need solving and to-dos that are real. Tell them, “You are not from God, at least in this moment.” And stay still.

When you do—when you fight through—a divine encounter is on the other side. I’m not suggesting angels with trumpets. My experience is more similar to the above: the still, small voice, or whisper.

A whisper that affirms.
A whisper that comforts.
A whisper that challenges.
A whisper that speaks to the true/real me.
A whisper that sparks my soul and makes me feel more alive.

Meditation is not “new age” or weird or for other people who aren’t you. Meditation—or whatever you want to call stillness, silence, and connecting to God’s Spirit—is the most original and ancient practice in spiritual growth. Long before there was a Bible there was silence. Long before there were churches with steeples, there were caves where people heard from God. And long before there were apps with sermons and songs there was stillness that made souls come alive.

Be still and know that God is God, and always accessible to you.

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Fire & Problems that Need Solving

In Heart, Mind by Caleb

Even legitimate problems that need solving can wait while we wait in stillness.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. 1 Kings 19:12

When I’m still, silent, breathing, and moving toward inner connection to God (like a branch to the vine), fires arise in my mind that demand I put them out—immediately.

Fires are the good things—or legitimate things—that need doing. They might even align with the work that God would have me to do. My focus can be right, my objectives becoming clear, but I can still get derailed by leaving the stillness too soon to address the problem.

I call this, getting ahead of God. It might be the right thing, but the wrong timing. The fire may need putting out, but someone else can do it, or I can do it later. Right now is the time for being connected and orienting my inner life to relationship, replenishment, and the renewal that comes only from God’s Spirit.

God’s not in the worry.
God’s not in the insecurity.
God’s not even in the ‘to-do’… until the timing is right.

But if we can be still through all these distractions, we can hear the gentle whisper and find our soul’s connection.

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Earthquakes and Insecurity

In Heart, Mind by Caleb

Insecurities expose our false selves.

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 1 Kings 19:11

As an earthquake rocks the foundation, so insecurity causes us to doubt who we are.

When I’m alone and still, fighting through the worries and staying in a place of silence, insecurities shake my sense of self.

“Who are you to…?”
“They won’t listen to you if…”
“Why do you think that will work?”
“Do you even hear from God, or is this just your imagination?”

After worry comes insecurity. It makes me doubt myself and whether this stillness thing is worth it. I tend to fall into old thought patterns about staying conservative, playing it safer, not making waves, tapering my faith… But the real me is the childlike voice within who takes God at his word and believes he can change the world.

That is, when I stay in stillness and fight through the worry and insecurity.

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Wind and Worry

In Heart, Mind by Caleb

Worry, like a strong wind, tears through our silence and pulls us toward fear.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. 1 Kings 19:11

Anytime I decide to not be still and focus on my connection to God’s Spirit, there is wind. By wind I mean worry. Worries rise up in me with tornado-like power, threatening my livelihood if I don’t get to work, suggesting concerns about how others are thinking about me—or not thinking about me—and playing out any number of scenarios, none of which seem to end well.

Worry is the first stillness-stealer. It’s a distraction that threatens to kill any hope of connecting with the eternal Spirit of the God of the Universe—the Spirit promised to us with an all-access pass.

What about…?
What if…?
Why didn’t…?
How will…?

We can rationalize it away, thinking we’re being thorough or thoughtful, but let’s be honest, we’re worrying. And, like the wind outside the cave, God is not in the worry.

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Meditation Isn’t “New Age”

In Soul by Caleb

People have prayed and meditated throughout human history in an effort to connect with God’s Spirit.

He traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. 1 Kings 19:8-9

I’ve never seen this until now, but I think this story about Elijah’s triumph, then panic, then encounter with God in a cave and empowerment and restoration that follows can be viewed as a practical lesson in what it looks like for any of us to experience God’s presence.

These days, “meditation” is the term that’s common in culture, but call it whatever—solitude, prayer, centering…whatever. The goal is to be still, put fear in its’ place, move past the distractions, and experience God’s presence.

Over the next few days, I’ll break down Elijah’s experience in the cave and how it can serve as a model for our practicing stillness.

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Ego & Extra

In Heart, Mind by Caleb

Be careful after a great success.

Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. 1 Kings 18:40

After the fire consumed the soggy logs and the god of Baal was exposed as impotent, Elijah seems caught up in the hype and hysteria. “Kill them all,” is essentially his order.

Could he justify this? Sure. It was common practice in ancient times for false prophets to lose their lives. Even God allowed it. (God communicated to people in their way in their day.) But God did not say specifically to Elijah to take this action. He could have shown grace and mercy. They seemed genuinely humbled by the display. Perhaps they would have changed their ways.

But Elijah, in my view, got caught up and went to the extreme. God’s power and authority might have been confused as his own power and authority. He took the matter further and found himself over-stepping.

I view Elijah as over-stepping because the action seemed to cause him insecurity. Jezebel threatens him, and Elijah panics.

So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. 1 Kings 19:2-3

The same guy who’d just done the fire bull-wood-water-fire miracle. The same guy who’d just had 400+ false prophets executed. The guy who was considered to be the most powerful and “anointed” leader of the Israelites in his day. That guy panicked and ran for his life.

When we take it further than God says to go, we end up feeling alone and afraid. And it happens to the most impressive of God’s leaders.

Be bold and invite God’s miracles. But watch for the ego that always wants to go further on its own.

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Soggy Logs

In Heart by Caleb

If it’s a God-thing, the logs can be soggy.

This is a verse from the amazing Prophet Elijah embarrassing the prophets of Baal. They were cutting themselves and calling down fire from the absent god of Baal. Nothing happened.

He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” 1 Kings 18:33

But Elijah doused his alter with water—three times—and called on God, and fire consumed the bull, wood, and water!

When it’s a God-thing, the circumstances can be tilted against you. Which reminds me of another passage:

“Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5:38-39

If it’s not a God-thing, it will fizzle. But if it’s a God-thing, the logs can be soaking wet, the bank account empty, the rumors swirling, and the odds opposing… but the fire is coming!

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Lead Me On Level Ground

In Mind by Caleb

Lead me level.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10

Potholes are a problem—particularly in big cities. The worse the pothole, the more damage it can do to car. That’s why we pave our streets and pay our taxes, so we have smooth roads to drive. (Never mind all that concrete hurts the water table…another conversation.)

When the ground is not level, it’s difficult to make good progress. Particularly some 3,000 years ago when the author was writing. A rocky, unlevel path could take ten times longer to travel than a path that’s been made smooth.

God, make our paths smooth. When we’re on the wrong path, help us move. When we’re supposed to go slow and learn something, give us peace. But whenever possible, smooth the way… as we follow you, OUR God, and your good, good Spirit.

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Good Spirit

In Soul by Caleb

Stick with the Spirit of Good.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10

Have you ever walked into a room or place and just felt something was off? Call it darkness, ugliness, or evil… but you’ve felt the feels. Often, it’s places. Sometimes it’s people that have that feeling.

There’s a spirit that opposes and a Spirit that empowers.
There’s a spirit that kills and a Spirit that offers life.
There’s a spirit that takes away and a Spirit that freely gives.
There’s a spirit of fear and a Spirit of peace.
There’s a spirit that’s bad, and a Spirit of Good.

Now, going back to the garden, God instructed humans to not delve into the territory of Good and Evil. We can’t handle it. It’s too complex, too nuanced. But this much we can do…

Find and follow the Good Spirit. Day after day. Moment by moment. This leads to a good life.

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My God

In Heart by Caleb

This is personal.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. Psalm 143:10

I’m not doing God’s will “because He said so,” like I’m a 3-year-old learning the do’s and don’ts. I’m doing God’s will because…

1. He’s THE God of the Universe. Everything that is is because of this God.
2. He’s MY God.

This is personal. I’ve felt this God love me. I’ve sensed His grace and forgiveness. I know that I’m loved and accepted, as I am. I understand that Jesus was God with skin and showed me God’s love.

I’ll learn and I’ll follow because you love me.

We’ll learn and we’ll follow and we’ll do your will… because you love us, and this is personal.

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