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Silence.

Silence. How often do we find true silence? How many times a day do we find ourselves sitting in a space so quiet that we can’t even hear the humming of an air conditioner, or the buzz of the electricity in a lamp? For me, that answer is never.

Silence has become an indulgence. Something that we reward ourselves with after we’ve completed all our work, seen everyone we need to see, and finished all the chores around the house. And maybe we don’t even experience silence after that; maybe our reward has become watching television while scrolling through social media.

When I study, I listen to music. If I’m with people, someone is usually talking. When I’m doing chores or getting ready, I pick my favorite playlist on spotify or turn on the TV to provide some background noise. Silence has become bothersome. Silence has become a bad thing.

Last week I visited a small chapel that sits on the back of my college campus, and for the first time in a very long time, I experienced silence. For over an hour, I sat without distractions and was silent; no phone, no homework, no emails buzzing in my pocket. It was in those moments that I realized how loud life truly was…how loud I allowed life to be.

We need silence. We need to sit without distractions and be still. The Bible gives us several verses about this:

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14).

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” (Psalm 62:5).

“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.” (Job 6:24).

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” (Isaiah 30:15).

Yet today we are fed constant noise. Maybe we like the noise because it distracts us from having to listen. God uses the silence to speak, and perhaps the truth for many is that they don’t want to hear what the Lord is trying to tell them, so they fill their lives with noise instead. This reminds me of another story in the bible:

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” (Jonah 1:1-3).

(If you don’t know that story, Jonah eventually gets swallowed by a fish and then comes to his senses, following God’s directions and doing as God asked. There’s a whole veggietales episode about it.)

Basically the point I’m trying to make is this; silence is a good thing. Silence is peace. Silence is sanity. Silence is listening and obedience. And in this loud and pushy world we live in, silence is necessary.

However, silence is still hard to find. But I encourage you to search for it. Find ten minutes in your day that you can dedicate to silent listening without distractions. Maybe it’s waking up ten minutes earlier, maybe it’s staying up ten minutes later, or maybe it’s substituting ten minutes of your social media time. However you can find it, I encourage you to use it.

Sharing the Christmas Story with Your Kids

Well, Christmas day is finally here—and my kids can hardly believe it!

I pray that you will set aside some time to thank God for the incredible gift of his Son.

If you’ve never read the Christmas story to your kids, you can find it in the first two chapters of the book of Luke.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.

“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!   

And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in highest heaven,and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.  

After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.

All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.

Merry Christmas, from all of us at Shine.FM!

Listen to today’s audio here.

What verse do you go to for encouragement?

A lot has been happening already this week here in the U.S. between the flooding in Colorado and yesterday’s tragedy at the Navy Shipyard in Washington D.C.—and it’s only Tuesday! When things seem to be going crazy around you…what bible verse do you cling too? For me I usually go to Jeremiah 29:11! What’s yours?

~Garrett from Shine Afternoons

“Walk-It-Out-Wednesday”-Your Quiet Time

Hey it’s Garrett from Shine Afternoons and today is a “Walk-It-Out-Wednesday.” I don’t know if you heard, but  scientists where I graduated high school from (that’s Minnesota by the way) have created the “world’s quietest room.” It’s a high-tech, acoustic chamber in which you can hear your own heartbeat and not one person has lasted longer than 45 minutes. So it got me thinking about my quiet time with God, and being quiet and “hearing” His voice? Do find it hard to have a “quiet” time? How are you “walking out” your quiet time?

George Jones

George Jones, one of the pioneers of country music passed away last Friday. If you know anything about his life, then you know his music through most of his career focused on wild living, broken relationships, alcoholism, drug abuse and more. In fact, country music could have said he was their “bad boy” poster child for many years too.

What you might not know is that later in life, after falling into a coma for a short time, George Jones gave his life to Jesus. Now he wasn’t perfect by a long shot, and still battled with some of his past behaviors, but wasn’t afraid to tell people about Jesus.

Maybe your story is a little like George Jones, and you’ve had some “bumps” along the way. My bible is FULL of stories of lives that God used even though they had weaknesses (think David, Paul, Peter….there’s more). How has God used you in you in spite of your “weakness?”

~Garrett

Are you waiting on God?

While you’re waiting…..

~Garrett

 

Walk It Out Wednesday: Handling fear with your family

Hey, it’s Garrett from Shine Afternoons and guess what…it’s another “Walk-It-Out-Wednesday!” Today we are talking about how you handle fear in your life. Monday was another “rock our world” day and it reminded us that even here on U.S. soil, we are not immune from events like what happened at the end of the Boston Marathon. So when things get a bit scary in your life and a little fear creeps in, how do you “walk-it-out?” Let me know at 855-98-SHINE!

Americans Express Their Views On The Bible And Second Coming Of Jesus

The American Bible Society has released its 2013 Annual “State of the Bible” Report.  They found that 88% of Americans have a personal Bible at home, which is an average of about 4 per household.

Last year, 1 in 6 Americans bought a new Bible.  However, compared to 2011, there are 6 million more Americans who are “antagonistic’ to the Bible and its teachings.

By the way, the survey included some discouraging news about young adults and the bible.  In the 18-28 age group, 57% report reading the Bible less than three times a year or never.  That’s discouraging news, and it serves as a challenge to all of us to reach out to the teens, college students, and young adults in our sphere of influence.

For centuries, Christians have proclaimed that Jesus died, Jesus rose from the dead and Jesus will come again.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine suggests that future hope remains strong.

A majority of American Protestants and about one-third of Catholics told the pollsters they believed Jesus would definitely or probably return by the year 2050.

Pew senior researcher Greg Smith says that belief was strongest among people with a high school education or less.  That might be seen as a slight to those who have less education, but given the fact that the majority of American universities aren’t particularly friendly to Christianity, should we be surprised?

By the way, about one-eighth of Americans said they didn’t know if Jesus would return by the year 2050 …placing them in agreement with our Lord’s own words that no one knows the day or the hour when he’ll return, except God the Father.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Larry the Cucumber

Larry the Cucumber is going to talking with Garrett on Shine Afternoons between 5-6pm tonight on the New Shine.FM.  Do you or your kiddos have any questions for Larry?

Walk-It-Out-Wednesday: Scars

Hey, it’s Garrett from Shine Afternoons and scars are something we all have.  Whether it’s a physical scar from an injury, or an emotional scar from something painful we’ve gone through (which isn’t easily visible from the outside by the way). God allows scars to remind us that we went through something and “survived.” On this “Walk-it-out-Wednesday,” how are you walking out your “scars?” Have they made you bitter or better? Are they a conversation starter, or a conversation “ender?” Oh, and don’t forget about the one who was sent to take your “scars” for you to give you hope and a future too.