Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Be Still My Soul"1 (Lyrics)
"Sit!" commands the dog's master. Next comes what is truly impressive: The dog instantly lowers its hind legs and stays put. All the while, its eyes remain fixed on its master. It stays nearby, always sensitive to its master's moves. You've witnessed this fascinating relationship between creature and human. You know that the dog's master can take it anywhere because it's trained to be trustworthy.
You've likely also experienced the unpleasant greeting of unruly dogs. You enter the home, and instantly, the family pet pounces all over you. You may sense that this undisciplined dog reflects the lack of discipline in the entire family.
It's no different for Christians. Apart from God's disciplinary training, they'll bound toward whatever grabs their attention, whatever seems fitting. They'll be wild and undisciplined, insensitive to their heavenly Master's voice, saying,
John 15:4 – Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (NIV 2011)
Jesus repeats His point, saying,
John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (NIV 2011)
That's five repetitions of the word "remain"! Jesus knows our nature! You yourself can attest to our tendency: We're far more occupied with "getting going" than "staying put". That's reflected in our preaching, praying, and planning. We tear off, leaving God behind. We'll then view our fervent activity as proof that we're remaining "in the vine". However, like our canine friends, we require our Master's disciplinary work in order to remain in Him and to become truly fruitful.
As I write this, our world is engulfed in an alarming pandemic. Suddenly, our activities are suspended. We're forced to stay put, literally. This may be God's way of "shortening the leash". Confined to our solitary places, His Spirit and Word can prepare us individually. That's a vital process, considering that the challenges facing us, including the church, cannot be overcome through human effort. It must be a work of God. At some point, He'll invite us into the process:
1 Samuel 12:16 – Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! (NIV 2011)
Seeing such a "great thing" requires us to stay put, to remain in Christ's presence. We must refuse to write off God or humanity, passively assuming that the end is nigh. That's unbelief! Instead, we rest expectantly in God's promises:
2 Chronicles 20:15b,17b – Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. (NIV 2011)
Prayer: O Master, help us to value Your disciplinary work, even when it becomes painful and costly. Train us to be trustworthy, fruit-bearing servants, having learned to remain in You as You remain in us. Amen.
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Well said, Diane.
Thanks for your encouraging words.
Well done, Diane. Thanks for this encouragement.
Thank you, Diane, for your timely message. Blessings.
Thank you, Diane. Well put.
Good morning Diane,
What excellent, helpful thoughts.
Thank you for the insightful and relevant thoughts you shared, foundation for a sermon.
Remaining with God is so important. Faith is a great gift especially in these difficult times. Thanks, and blessings, Diane!
Thank you, Diane. Now….Sit! Stay at home! Stay well!! Trust in God!
As always, Diane, you are thoughtful and succinct. Thank you for this one and the last one. I do appreciate your writing. Blessings.
Hi Diane, You have done it again! Thanks for the excellent devotional in today’s prayer. Obedience was also learned by our LORD! Learned and taught.
Thank you for these thoughts and your take on what is happening in the world at this time. As you say, may we be willing to wait and see what the Lord has done for us, and is doing through us even as we sit at home.
That verse from Chronicles says it all! Your writing is really helpful today, echoing the ‘staying put,’ over and over. Simple and profound, a metaphor to carry around in my heart today. Grateful for your inspired sharing today, Diane.
Very thoughtful devotional with many examples from the Bible to help us to remember that God is in charge and there is hope. Thanks.
Thank you so much, Diane, for such a timely devotional! Who can’t identify with your illustration of the 2 types of dogs!!!
Help you for reminding us to remain in Him as He remains in us!
Another very good devotional. Thank you for writing and giving us the good reminder to follow the Lord’s leading ways and obeying His commands in our daily life.
Blessings to you and may you stay well in the days ahead.
Diane, thank-you for your most timely scriptural wisdom as we ponder these apocalyptic happenings shutting down an entire world economy – even shutting down the 2020 General Assembly -to re-think restoring Christ as Lord and King of His PCC??
Blessings and mercy upon us all is our earnest prayer.
Hello Diane, once again you have really hit the nail on the head! I’m struggling so hard with forced inactivity (i.e., staying home), and yet you have shown me how grievous it must be to the Lord when we get so busy that we virtually stop seeking HIS will and head out in our own interpretation of what we should be doing. Bless you always!!
To Diane Eaton,
A meaningful devotional. May we follow our Lord in the center of His will as never before.
We pray that God’s people will be praying for God’s intervention into this crisis.
And we pray that all of the health-care persons and scientists who are working hard to develop a serum or anti-bodies to the infectious disease, the C–virus, will be successful very soon.
May the will of our Lord be done.
Thank You, Diane for your inspirational words today. I like your reference to our pet’s behavior. I don’t have a dog at this time but love them. We do have a grand dog who knows what “stay” means. Your connection to our relationship with God is really meaningful. I will remember your words and scripture readings as I go about my day.
Thanks again, Diane.
Greetings in Christ, Diane.
How I can find myself in your words, “We tear off, leaving God behind.”: distracted, not waiting upon my Lord. The comparison with dogs is so apt… very easy to visualize and relate to! It is a good call to “be still and know that [He is] God.”
God bless and keep you and yours during this situation. It is a real comfort knowing that the Lord is walking with us through this valley. Praise God!
God bless you, Diane. Thank you for this most timely devotional.
All your devotionals are most appreciated. God bless you.