Experience an intimate connection to your heavenly Father with Be Still and Know.... Featuring a powerful devotional reading and scripture for every day of the year, this beautiful volume provides inspiration and encouragement for your soul. Enhance your spiritual journey with the refreshing readings—and come to understand the abundant life that God has in store.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Julie has also been a featured speaker at women’s retreats and special events for over 25 years. She has served as Teaching Director and Area Director for Community Bible Study.
Julie continues to work part-time as a surgical nurse at an orthopedic outpatient surgery center. She also serves on the board of Grace Valley Ministries. Julie also enjoys jogging, golf and gardening. Scott and Julie have two grown children and three grandchildren. They reside in the Atlanta area.
Read an Excerpt
Be Still and Know ...
365 Devotions for Abundant Living
By Julie Rayburn
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Julie Rayburn
All rights reserved.
Facing Life's Challenges
"For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." 2 Chronicles 20:12
* * *
As we embark on a brand-new year, we are hopeful and optimistic. Yet realistically we know that each year is filled with peaks as well as valleys. There will be challenges in the coming year. How will we face those challenges? What will be our strategy?
As King Jehoshaphat was facing an invasion of Edom's vast army, he said to the Lord, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." Then God's Spirit spoke through one of the men of Judah, saying, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chronicles 20:15). As the people began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the invading armies and defeated them.
Whatever challenges we face in life, we have a choice: to either turn to God and bow down before Him or to run away in fear. If we cave in to the emotion of fear, we will be running for the rest of our lives. This is not what God wants for us. The Lord desires to give us victory in the battles we face. We are called to follow Christ for a purpose—to trust Him to do the impossible. He can and will intervene. Our life is in His hands.
Dear Lord, I don't know what challenges I will face this coming year, but You do. Help me keep my eyes on You. Fight my battles, and give me the victory that is found in You. Amen.
Priority of Prayer
Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
* * *
In today's reading, the apostle Paul instructs us to "pray continually." We are to pray without ceasing. What exactly does that mean? We have jobs, families, and responsibilities. Who can sit in church all day or have their eyes closed at work for extended periods of time?
We can live in an attitude of prayer even when we are engaged in everyday activities. To pray without ceasing means to be in constant communication with our heavenly Father. Pray about all things—things trivial or earthshaking. God is listening and ready to help. It does not matter where we are. We can be driving a car or sitting in a church pew because God is with us at all times. When we communicate with Him throughout our day, we experience intimate fellowship that enables us to face whatever life throws our way. Let's make prayer a priority this year.
Dear Lord, help me establish the habit of communicating with You throughout my day regardless of where I am or what I am doing. You desire intimate fellowship with me. May I desire the same with You. Amen.
LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous. Psalm 15:1–2
* * *
Making a total commitment to Christian living involves voluntarily binding oneself to the principles of scripture. It means doing the right thing when you have the opportunity to do wrong. It means doing the right thing even when no one will know or even care. God cares. He knows.
How do we keep from faltering? First, we must read, study, and meditate on God's Word. How can we do what is right if we don't know what God requires of us? We must call on God for help every day. It is impossible to live the Christian life victoriously in our own strength and by our own efforts. We desperately need God's power through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Finally, we must draw on the support of other believers. God never intended for us to walk this journey alone.
Making the commitment is easy. Following through is the challenge.
Dear Lord, I desire to be totally committed to You, yet I find it very difficult. Help me feed upon Your Word, relying upon Your power and the support of other believers. Amen.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6
* * *
Many of us are familiar with the fall of Adam and Eve as described in Genesis 3. As we ponder their choice to disobey God, have we ever stopped to examine our own hearts? Do we ever engage in mental conversation with our adversary? Do we add to God's Word? What temptations are satisfying to our flesh, pleasing to our eyes, or will make us feel important?
Sin is a disease, not a weakness. It is rebellion against God—that simple. Our theology of sin needs to be in line with what the Bible teaches. The world tries desperately to ignore, suppress, or erase the concept of sin. To admit "I have sinned" is very difficult. And yet this is exactly what we must confess if we are to have a right relationship with God.
We are not unlike Adam and Eve. We all have sinned and fallen short. God is ready to forgive and restore. Let's be quick to confess our rebellion.
Dear Lord, help me see my rebellion as sin. Help me admit and confess that sin. Restore me to a right relationship with You. Amen.
Getting Your Life Back on Course
He [Elijah] replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." 1 Kings 19:10
* * *
At times life can feel overwhelming, and we can easily become discouraged. We may scale a spiritual mountain one moment, only to find ourselves trudging through a dark valley the next. Feelings of loneliness and despair can characterize the valleys of life. The prophet Elijah could relate.
When Elijah had a showdown with the prophets of Baal, God intervened in a miraculous way and gave Elijah victory. Ahab then reported this defeat to Queen Jezebel. Elijah should have been praising God, but because he was afraid of Jezebel, he was running for his life instead.
After a spiritual victory, be prepared for a time of serious testing. This is when our personal relationship with our Lord becomes the apex of our direction. Be prepared. Testing will come. Will we be fearful like Elijah running from Jezebel, or will we stand firm? We should not flee in fear. Instead, we need to face the obstacles by drawing on God's strength and presence in our lives. The Lord is walking with us—even in the valleys. We are never alone!
Dear Lord, prepare me to face the times of testing in my life. Take away my fear. Help me run to You so that I can stand firm. Amen.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1–3
* * *
Most of us could easily identify a vibrant, healthy fruit tree. The branches would be teeming with fruit and the leaves would not be withered. This verse credits the water source for the tree's success and prosperity.
What is your definition of success? The world paints a picture of success based on one's material possessions, worldly accomplishments or power. God's view is quite different. Success in God's eyes is a matter of godly attitude and perspective. It is not based on what we own but rather on whom we serve and what we do with our service.
The focus of our heart needs to be fixed on Jesus in order to attain true success. God's pathway to success is achieved by obeying His Word throughout a lifetime. How are you doing? Are the things of this world preventing you from achieving true success? We have a water source: Jesus Christ—the Living Water. Are we tapping into Him daily?
Dear Lord, it is so easy to get caught up in worldly pursuits. Help me to desire success from Your point of view. Amen.
The Idol of Success
"You shall have no other gods before me." Deuteronomy 5:7
* * *
God desires for us to be successful in whatever we undertake. However, the Bible warns us not to let success "go to our head." We are not to have a haughty attitude toward success so that our principal focus is our own achievements. When that happens, we have allowed success to become an idol in our lives.
The first commandment warns us not to have any other gods before the Lord. "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me (Deuteronomy 5:6–7)." An idol is anything that takes God's rightful place as number one in our lives. Our principal focus must always be on Jesus Christ.
What idols have subtly found their way into your life—success, family, children, spouse, work, materialism, physical beauty, Face-book, exercise, or food? These things have their proper place. However, the Lord desires preeminence. When we allow the Lord His rightful place, we will live successful lives. Rather than shining the spotlight on ourselves, let's shine it on the Lord so that He receives the glory for the success He has granted us.
Dear Lord, help me to live successfully by keeping my focus on You, not self. Show me anything that I have allowed to become an idol in my life. Amen.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23–24
* * *
This may be our attitude when volunteering at church, but what about when we're at work or doing household chores? It's easy to cop a bad attitude with an unreasonable boss or laundry that never seems to end. We may need an "attitude adjustment," but how can we experience that?
We may not be able to change our workload or boss, but the Lord can give us a new perspective. Realize that ultimately we are working for the Lord, not man. Our Boss is kind and encouraging. He rewards our efforts. As our perspective changes, so does our attitude.
As Christians, regardless of where we are or what we are doing, we are to serve Christ. Our attitude speaks volumes about who we are and in whom we believe. We should serve Jesus at home, in church, and in our secular life—there should be no differentiation. When we acknowledge who our true Boss is, we find pleasure in serving Him!
Dear Lord, help me serve You wherever I am. When that is my desire, my attitude will not only be pleasing to You but also to those around me. Amen.
The Lords Prayer
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:9–10
* * *
In Luke's account, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus responded by reciting what we recognize as the Lord's Prayer or "Our Father." Perhaps we have uttered these words so often by rote that they have lost their meaning.
Jesus purposely begins this prayer with "Our Father." This name for God demonstrates His paternal love. Not only is God majestic and holy, but He is also personal and loving. As believers, we are privileged to be able to call God our Father! God is a Father who loves and cares for each of His children. His love is extreme! Our heavenly Father will search us out and rescue us from the pit. His love is everlasting! There is nothing we could ever do to make Him stop loving us. This nurturing, paternal love is one of security and encouragement. What a source of hope!
Because of God's great love for us, we look to Him with awe and wonder. We hold Him in highest esteem and revere His name. We desire that His will be done because we truly believe that it is best.
Dear Lord, thank You for being my heavenly Father. May I ponder the extent of Your love for me and bask in that love today. Amen.
Wicked vs. Righteous
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7
* * *
Life seems blatantly unfair at times. Sometimes those who love the Lord experience hardship while those who do not acknowledge their Creator appear to have an easy road. Even when we may not understand God's ways, we should never fret or be envious of the nonbeliever. Although they may seem to prosper, eventually their ways will be exposed. Nothing is lasting for the evil man or woman.
How should we then live? Our lives should reflect a heart that trusts the Lord and delights in Him. We should do good works and be faithful. We should trustfully commit our way to the Lord. We should be still before Him and wait patiently for Him to act on our behalf. Anger should have no place in our lives. The results will be the following: "The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him" (Psalm 37:39–40).
Dear Lord, may I not be envious of others, but live my life according to Your Word. Help me to be still and wait for You to intervene on my behalf. Amen.
Stages of Our Christian Life
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2–4
* * *
Life is full of many trials and heartaches as well as joyful and happy times. Let's face it, it's much easier to embrace sunny days than gloomy ones! As we bask in the good times, do we tend to leave God out of the equation? James 1:17 says, "Every ... perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights." When experiencing smooth sailing, give thanks to God and acknowledge that your blessings have come from Him.
But what happens when trials and suffering come unexpectedly into our life and rock our world? Our trials are not random. They have divine purpose. Are we able to experience the peace that God promises us, even in the midst of suffering? Do we live each day as if it were our last? When our attention is focused on God rather than our circumstances, we can have confidence that He is maturing our faith. We will have peace. Is this not my choice?
Dear Lord, trials and suffering are never what we would choose, yet You promised to give us peace during our darkest moments. May I feel Your presence today. Thank You for walking beside me. Amen.
To keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:7–9
* * *
Was Paul's thorn in the flesh physical or emotional? It doesn't really matter. What is important to realize is that the Lord allowed Paul to suffer. Why? Paul acknowledges that it was to keep him from becoming proud. The Lord wanted Paul to continue to rely on His power and not Paul's own. God's grace was sufficient for Paul. God gave Paul power amid his weakness.
This spiritual principle wasn't just meant for Paul; it is applicable for all of us. A total commitment to God will cover any thorn in the flesh that we may have. There is such joy when we accept God's will for our life! Then, like Paul, we will be able to say, "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). As we lean on God's power, He is glorified, because in our weak state, He is made known.
Dear Lord, help me in my weakness. May I depend totally on You to give me the strength that I need every day. Amen.
Excerpted from Be Still and Know ... by Julie Rayburn. Copyright © 2014 Julie Rayburn. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.