Silence in Prayer

Silence. We don’t have much of it in our world today. One cannot go anywhere in public without a constant barrage of noise from car stereos or cell phones ringing. This is one of the prices we pay for modern civilization. And the truth is, most of us want to be free to make our own noise, we just don’t always like the noises that other people make.

But the lack of silence is also costing us something. Often, it is in the silences that we can hear God speak.
I am not talking about hearing God’s audible voice. I have known a few times when reputable people told me that they heard an audible voice from God. I believe that they did. But God does not usually communicate that way. More often, the voice of God comes to us as a sense within our souls.

Now it isn’t always easy to be sure that what we “hear” in our soul isn’t just what we want to hear. That’s why we need the Bible and preaching of the Word and fellowship with wise brothers and sisters. Those voices help us discern the source of the voices we are hearing in our souls. They help us know better which voice is from God and which is just our own corrupt wishes talking.

And that is also why we need silence. Not just physical silence, but a quiet heart, a quiet mind. A part of our prayer life should be devoted to getting our own minds quiet so we can hear the Spirit of God within us. It is a part of the way that we pay attention to God, to what He is saying and doing.

Paul says that our bodies are the temple of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). In Christ, you are God’s temple. And you know what the prophet says: “The Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20). So as you pray this week, spend part of that time just being quiet. You might be surprised at what you will hear.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

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Following Jesus into the Streets

My mind was opened to a new idea when I began training as a small group leader in Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship as a young college student. The training manual talked about the various things that we should be working to make happen in our group: Bible study, prayer and fellowship, for example.

But the training emphasized another aspect of a true disciple of Jesus: outreach. Service to others and sharing the good news with people outside of our group is an essential part of what Jesus calls all of us to do. The internal faith that is nurtured in prayer and Bible study and fellowship with other Christians is only a part of a healthy life of faith.

If you are a Christian, you should be looking for ways to bless others in service and ministry. You should seek out opportunities to meet and serve people who are not believers. You should be praying for an opening, led by God’s Spirit, to talk about Jesus and what He means to you.

Matthew writes that Jesus’ words on that final day will be, “Whatever you did for the least of these, or whatever you didn’t do, you did or didn’t do for me.” Jesus gave His life for us. He identified with the poor, the foreigners, the outcasts. He wants us to identify with those in need and be there to help them, walk alongside them and to learn from them.

Have you measured your faithfulness by Bible reading, daily devotions and church attendance? Those are all important, but they are only a part of what makes us healthy Christians. If we are following Jesus, we will be sitting in the pew, but we will also be roaming the streets to see whom and how we can serve.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC

Mother’s Day

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. The holiday is a rightly-deserved celebration of perhaps the most important role a human being can undertake. Mother’s Day can be a painful day for mothers whose experience as a mother includes tragedy and heartache. It can be painful for children as well; especially those first Mother’s Days after our own mother has passed away.

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day and that you are able to celebrate.

It’s also a good time to remember that the Bible often speaks of God’s love for us in images of mother. “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you (Isaiah 66:13). “But I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother” (Psalm 131:2). Jesus said, “Jerusalem… how long I have desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings” (Matthew 23:37).

Even though we follow the tradition of calling God our Father, we know that God isn’t male or female. In fact, Genesis says clearly that male and female together make up the image of God in humanity (Genesis 1:27).
So we do well to remember that all of the best things we think of when we think of mothers, these are a part of God’s character too. God mothers us better than our best mothers.

This Mother’s Day, remember that just as God is a Father to the fatherless person, He is also mother to the motherless. And mother to the childless. And through every other skint-knee, broken-heart affliction that comes our way, God snuggles us in His motherly embrace.

Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC