Know Where You Are Going

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Vol. 19 No. 46 | December 10, 2017

It helps to know where you are going?

I had received word that a friend was to have a medical procedure at one of the local hospitals. I actually received text messages with time and location from multiple people. My plan was to go visit and pray before the procedure. Allowing myself plenty of time for traffic snarls and other possible delays I left home in plenty of time to arrive, park, and walk from the parking lot to the location.

So, I drove at the speed limit, found the hospital, parked in the garage, walked to the hospital and began my search for my friend, her husband, and other friends. Second floor. Okay here I am. Nope. Not here. Well, maybe there is another second floor or maybe it is in another part of the hospital. Down this hall. Asked for directions. Nope. Not here. I’ll try this hall. Nope. I’ll ask this lady at the information desk. “I’ll show you. You’ll never find it on your own.” She said in a semi-polite manner. I thanked her. She left. Nope. Not here.

My friends had already told me there were at the hospital on the second floor. So, I texted them again, got the same information, and continued my search. The next exchange of information when something like this.

Me: I’m still searching.

Friend: Where are you?

Me: I’m on the Second floor. I’ve been all over the second floor. (And the Third, and the Fourth…but I did not tell them that.) I’m standing right by the Food Court.

Friend: Silence.

Me: Silence.

Me: Are you at the West hospital?

Friend: No, we are at the Mid-Town hospital.

Me: That explains a lot.

I had another appointment and knew I would not have time to get to Mid-Town and then to my next appointment, so I apologized for missing them and asked them to update me on things and they transpired. They did. The friend did well. All is well. I made my next appointment (only one location for this one.)

I also was reminded of a well-known and important rule of travel: It helps to know the right location.

I had no one to blame but me. Rechecked my text messages about a dozen times during my wilderness wanderings. Yep, says right there: West. Actually, it said Mid-town, but because I had it locked in my head that it was West, I read it every time as West.

Yes, I felt pretty foolish. No harm done but it is important to know the right location.

My GPS correctly guided me to the place I thought I was supposed to go. In my mind, I thought I was in the right place. Once I arrived, I thought I was at the right place.

Sometimes our hearts and minds lead us to the wrong place. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said this about the heart:

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, NIV)

In my heart and mind, I was in the right place. I wanted to be in the right place. But I was not in the right place. Being in the wrong place is not always as simple and innocent as going to the wrong hospital.

Our heart, and a mind full of good intentions, may lead us to a place that we thought would be beneficial. Once we arrive we realize it is not where we need to be. A party. Co-workers going out for a drink after work. A workplace that turns negative and discouraging. A relationship that had great potential becomes toxic and destructive. A major family decision that required some significant changes seemed like a good idea at the time but just before the move day you realized you were headed in the wrong direction.

There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak. (Proverbs 14:12-13, MSG)

The Psalmist offers another tool to help guide us as we travel through life.

I gain understanding from your precepts;
therefore I hate every wrong path.

Your word is like a lamp that shows me the way.
It is like a light that guides me.
I have made a promise
to follow your laws, because they are right. (Psalm 119:104-106, NIV)

It is important to know where you are going, and it is important to know where you are when you arrive. During the course of the next few days you will be presented with many options on how to live your life, places you will go, people you will spend time with. Knowing where you are going, and where you are, is very important. Choose wisely. When you find you are in the wrong place, admit it and adjust your course as needed.


A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved

In God We Trust

Vol. 19 No. 48 | December 3, 2017

We read it on our money. (You remember money, the green paper bills we once used to pay for things.) We see it on government buildings; hear it preached in church services; and boast it in secular, patriotic, and religious songs.

In God we trust.

We hear and say these words repeatedly, yet it seems to me what we are saying and what we are actually doing are two very different things.

So my question is, do we really trust in God?

Because if we really trust in God, why do we panic when the stock market drops?

If we really trust in God, why are we so anxious when those in power threaten war?

If we really trust in God, why do we pray and pray for Godly wisdom, spiritual guidance, and strength to live for God, but at the first sign of difficulty, we revert back to our human resources?

I know these questions have been asked for centuries, and they will continue to be asked long after I’m gone. I also realize that economic disasters, nuclear war, and personal crises are valid concerns that deserve our attention. But if we really trust in God, shouldn’t the way we deal with these potential disasters be different?

When David’s entire world seemed to be in turmoil (Psalm 31:1-13) he responded with:

But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands; (14-15)

After Solomon had explored and experienced almost everything life could offer, he concluded:

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

In another place Solomon shared:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

John wrote:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

Let me reiterate, I completely understand that we live in uncertain times. Fear is being used to manipulate our decisions and convince us that the days ahead are going to be worse than days past. Some of them will be worse, but if we trust in God, we can face those challenging days with faith and courage.

Remember God said:

Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. (Joshua 1:4-6, NIV)

He also said:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV)

If it is true that in God we trust, let’s live like that is our truth. Let’s show the world those words are not just what we say, they are what we do.


A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.

The Future of A Norvell Note

Oops. Pushed the publish button too soon. First time in twenty years anything like that has happened. HA! You know better, I hope. 

Hello friends,

I’ve been writing and publishing A Norvell Note for almost twenty years. Beginning next week I will be offering an opportunity for you to participate in a practical and VERY inexpensive manner as I make plans to continue and expand the writing of A Norvell Notes. Please think and pray concerning this opportunity and I’ll share more information in the next few days.

Thanks for reading

A Norvell Note

Oops. Pushed the publish button too soon. First time in twenty years anything like that has happened. HA! You know better, I hope. 

Hello friends,

I’ve been writing and publishing A Norvell Note for almost twenty years. Beginning next week I will be offering an opportunity for you to participate in a practical and VERY inexpensive manner as I make plans to continue and expand the writing of A Norvell Notes. Please think and pray concerning this opportunity and I’ll share more information in the next few days.

Thanks for reading


A Prayer for you this Holiday Season

Vol. 19 No. 47 | November 26, 2017

You survived the week of Thanksgiving- the family gatherings and countless television commercials reminding you of the happiness you are supposed to feel when you set down at the table. Now it’s time to endure all the ads promising you the things you buy will make the holidays great. Almost every waking moment you are bombarded with advertisements, posters, commercials, Christmas movies, and musical specials, all promising this will be the best holiday season ever.

But, what if it’s not?

What if your Thanksgiving was awful…again? What if the thought of another Christmas season and listening to one more version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” makes you want to physically choke the cashier at the department store. What if you feel lonely, sad and too tired to keep going?

I suspect some of you reading this know exactly what I am talking about, or you know someone who does. I wish I had an easy solution to make the dread and sadness go away that could be wrapped up in ‘pretty paper and ribbons of blue.’ I don’t, but I do have one simple prayer to offer that has helped me and many others struggling to keep going.

Father, please give me the desire to have the desire to try.

For the father or mother who is tired of feeling like a failure:

Father, please give him or her the desire to have the desire to try.

For the sons or daughters who feel they have disappointed their parents too many times:

Father, please give them the desire to have the desire to try.

For the couple who feels they have done everything they can do to save their marriage:

Father, please give them the desire to have the desire to try.

For the man who feels like he has messed up his life so badly, he is unworthy of God’s forgiveness:

Father, please give him the desire to have the desire to try.

For the woman who has suffered pain of abuse for so long, she wonders if she will ever know how it feels to be loved:

Father, please give her the desire to have the desire to try.

For the church leader who is weary and broken and disappointed:

Father, please give him or her the desire to have the desire to try.

For the artist who wonders if his work will ever be accepted or appreciated:

Father, please give him or her the desire to have the desire to try.

For all of you reading these words who wonder if there really is a reason to keep hoping and trying:

May these words reach you and help you have the desire to have the desire to keep hoping and trying...


A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved

A Thanksgiving Conversation

You can now subscribe to A Norvell Note directly from the website by visiting

This article was originally shared during Thanksgiving week in 2008. There was a lot going on at time…not so different from today.

Vol. 19 No. 46 | November 19, 2017

FOLLOWER: Lord, I was reading your words the other day and came across this. It’s in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

GOD: Yes, I remember. I asked my servant Paul to write that. Is there a problem?

FOLLOWER: Well yeah, I mean I try to do that, but it’s hard. I try to be as cheerful as I can. And I pray as much as I can. Almost all the time. Even over little stuff, like the ability to help me speak well on Your behalf, and even the words to write these articles.

GOD: That’s good. I’m proud of you. That’s what I hope for you.

FOLLOWER: Thanks, but that’s not really what the problem is. The problem I’m having is with that last part.

GOD: You mean the part about how I want you to live?

FOLLOWER: Yeah, and the part right before that, “thank God no matter what happens.” That’s not so easy, either.

GOD: Can you explain what you mean?

FOLLOWER: Well, for instance, I visited someone in the hospital the other day who just found out she has cancer. She and her husband have a great attitude about the treatment and seem very courageous. I prayed for them, for the ability to help them, and I tried to be as cheerful as I could. But how can I be thankful about cancer?

GOD: I understand, go on.

FOLLOWER: Okay, I’m working with several couples, trying to help them salvage their marriages. Some of them are in really rough situations. Some had terrible things happen to them in their past, which makes it hard for them handle their differences with kindness and treat each other in a loving way. They are unhappy and hurting. So what is there to be thankful for about unhappy and hurting?

GOD: I understand. Is there anything else?

FOLLOWER: Well yes. I mean, look at this world we are living in. It’s a mess. We are living in constant fear of an economic collapse. People are losing their homes, their jobs, their retirements, and their savings.  And it’s only a matter of time before the next terrorist attack or school shooting. It all feels like sheer chaos. What is there to be thankful for about sheer chaos?

GOD: You do have a point. Are you finished?

FOLLOWER: I guess. So, can you help me understand all this?

GOD: I’ll be glad to help. That’s what I do. First, that lady with the cancer…

I understand that cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. I was with them before you got there, whe the doctor told them the news. They were scared, but I comforted them and assured them I would see them through this. They made a promise that, no matter what happens, they will live to honor me. I believe they both meant what they said. So although you can’t see this happening behind the scenes, when they demonstrate their faith in me, there is another couple watching them who will be encouraged by their example. Whether this woman lives another week or another thirty years, how she lives her remaining days and the way in which her husband loves and supports her will be beautiful examples of courage and devotion. I’m thankful for that. What about you?

FOLLOWER: Okay, I can see that.

GOD: Now, about those couples with marriage problems…

Some of them will not make it, no matter how hard they try or how hard you try to help. For some, maybe too much damage has been done. Or maybe they just aren’t willing to listen to our counsel. Or maybe they will decide it really is in everyone’s best interest to part ways. But there are some couples who will listen and do the work. And there are others who will part ways and find healthier, happier relationships. I’m thankful for all couples who find happiness in their relationships, aren’t you?

FOLLOWER: Absolutely! But, the ones that can’t make it work truly do break my heart.

GOD: That’s because you care so much about them, and I’m thankful for the way you love and care for them.

GOD: Now, let’s talk about the world. You are right, there is terrible suffering going on. People can be selfish, cruel and greedy. Many are destructive and determined to do things their way, not mine.

But don’t you also see so many people shining during these dark times? Isn’t it in times like these that churches finally get beyond their petty arguments and focus on helping to heal the sick, the lonely, and the broken? You are going to see people open their hearts and demonstrate kindness, generosity, and hospitality. You are going to see some surprising examples of people who will begin to truly love like they never realized they could. So as dark as these times appear to be, you are going to see amazing things happen. Just keep watching and have faith.

Does that help at all?

FOLLOWER: It absolutely does. I’ve never thought about things in that light and from that perspective. Thank you.

GOD: Oh, I think you would have come to some of these realizations eventually, but because you asked me to help you understand today…well, I heard you. You see, even though you don’t always feel cheerful or like you are truly grateful, you don’t stop trying to find joy, and you don’t stop praying. As long as you do those things, you will always find plenty of things to be thankful for.

FOLLOWER: Thank you for letting me ask these questions, for listening to me, and for helping me understand.

GOD: See? There you go again, being thankful.

And by the way, thank you for loving me.


A Norvell Note © Copyright 2008 and 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved

Whatever Comes

Vol. 19 No. 45 | November 12, 2017

The first words I wrote when starting my journal entry this week were… First, I need words for my article. My fingers immediately started typing Matthew 6:25-34. Wow, I thought, that was quite possibly the quickest response ever. Thank You.

Now you know the origin of many of my articles- a specific prayer for the perfect words to convey my message for the week. The answer is not always so quickly revealed, nor does it always apply so directly to me as this passage did from Jesus.

Please take a couple of minutes to read it for yourself, and then I will share a couple of thoughts on why it is so meaningful to me this week.

If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. (Matthew 25-26)

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. (Matthew 27-29)

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. (Matthew 6:30-33)

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Matthew 6:25-34, MSG)

I have never been one to worry too much about what I am going to eat; food has always been plentiful. I have never worried too much about what I will drink (unless I don’t have access to a good cup of coffee on some mornings); I have always been able to find something to quench my thirst. And clothes? Just this week I made another attempt at culling out some of my clothing. (Yes, you can, in fact, have too many t-shirts.) Since I have been blessed to always have enough, I have never been overly preoccupied or felt any sense of guilt when I read the words above. I can honestly say, without hesitation, that God has always provided, and I do my best to express my gratitude regularly for all his provisions.

But this time, the part of Jesus’ message that stood out was the last two sentences. I read it from several versions and translations and specifically selected the Message for the way these two lines are written:

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

As I read these words, I realized that although I rarely get worked up about anything, I do lean towards the side of perfectionism and have a slight tendency to make sure everything in my life is in order. So, when I read, “and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow”, I realized, oh… He is talking to me.

Of course, my inner critic often reminds me that I should have figured this message out by now. Obviously, I have not. My brain is constantly processing how I will handle or control this or that when it happens, so I will be 100% prepared for whatever comes my way.

As a result, I am in danger of not giving my entire attention to what God is doing right now. (My inner critic loves it when I do this). So, I have to keep reminding myself…

God will help me deal with whatever comes up when the time comes.

Thank You, Father, for directing me to this passage today as a reminder that You always do and say what needs to be done and said at the perfect time. Thank You for reminding me that You are always doing something glorious and mind-blowing, and if I will allow myself to look and listen and observe, I will be astonished. Then hopefully I can relax and truly live today knowing that You are way ahead of me at making the world a better place, and all I have to do is to enter into that process with You. Thank You, Father, for Your words that speak so clearly to me and maybe to someone else who needs to hear them.


A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved

A Wisp of Fog

Vol. 19 No. 44 | November 5, 2017

We received another reminder this week of how quickly life can change or end when Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove his truck along a bike path on the West Side of Lower Manhattan, killing eight and injuring twelve. These twenty people were simply enjoying a beautiful afternoon when, without warning, their lives were changed forever.

As the reality of yet another senseless act of violence sank in, my thoughts once again returned to these verses from the writings of James chapter 4:13-15.

And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.’ (The Message)

It would seem that after all these years and all the reminders, ‘being but a wisp of fog’ would be imbedded firmly in my brain. But it’s not. Whether it’s another terrorist attack, another death of an elderly mentor, a death resulting from an alcohol-related automobile accident, the shooting of another teenager, or another child succumbing to cancer, the shock is always there. The news of a life coming to an end is always a painful and unsettling reminder that we really are…nothing but a wisp of fog.

My intention is not to elicit guilt for the time that has passed or insinuate that any of it has been wasted, or do I want to instill panic that you have little of it left. I just want you to think about what you are doing with this little wisp of fog God has given you.

As you read these words, you are healthy, wealthy and wise. You are full of life, your heart is strong, your brain is clear. You have plans and you are making more. You have dreams and you will keep dreaming more. So as your mist floats along, I offer these suggestions.

Enjoy it!

Jesus said, “A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10, The Message) No need to wait until the end of your life for eternal life to appear. Enjoy it now! Live fully. Live abundantly. Live lavishly. Live completely.

Spice it up!

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13, NIV) As the salt, God wants you to preserve what is good, “You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.” (The Message) Have fun along the way and encourage others to have fun. Be generous when others are being selfish. Be gracious and kind when others are rude and discourteous. As Tim McGraw sings, “Always be humble and kind.” (Actually, I think Jesus said and lived that first.)

Light it up!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV) Do good deeds so God will be glorified. If someone sees you do something and praises you for it, don’t worry about it. You are His tool to bring light into darkness. Just do good and don’t expect anything in return.

If you make it your aim to enjoy life in this very moment, an interesting thing happens. You will automatically spice it up, and by doing that, you will light it up, brightening the path for other mists of fog…and who doesn’t enjoy that?!


A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved

Facing the day, like Jesus did

Vol. 19 No. 43 | October 29, 2017

This morning finds me sitting at my desk with my fingers on the keyboard and Gordon Lightfoot singing in my head: “I’m on my second cup of coffee and I still can’t face the day.” (Second Cup of Coffee) It’s not a particularly spiritual song, but that first line repeated throughout the song fits the morning and many others I’ve experienced throughout my six-plus decades.

Some days are just hard to face. No, I’m not depressed. I’m not sick or angry or tired. I’m not dreading what is ahead. There are just some days that are hard to face.

Many years ago, in an Expository Preaching class at Harding University, Dr. Jerry Jones took my sermon based on the Luke 9 account of the Transfiguration (verses 28-36) and the verse right after that (37), and ripped it apart. He explained that according to the rules of expository preaching the sermon was technically flawed, and that I could do better. Although I’ve preached several versions of that sermon since and usually had pretty positive feedback, I know he was right.

The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.

The point I was trying to make from that text (or more accurately, the way I was using the text to make my point) was how difficult it must have been for Jesus – receiving so much and praise on the mountain by Moses, Elijah and the Father – to come down and face a large crowd of people needing to take so much from him.

When Jesus came down the mountain, He was greeted with a man begging for Him to heal his son. Most likely, there were many others with equally pressing needs begging to receive His attention.

In my mind, this would have been a difficult day to face. After being lavished with love and affirmation on the mountain, He was now back in the thick of giving all of Himself, attending to the needs of a crowd of people who had very little understanding of His true identity. That, for me, would have been a ‘two or three cup of coffee’ morning.

What stands out to me every time I read these two passages together is how different the man I am is from the man I aspire to be. I want to be like Jesus, but some days I feel more like Peter- ‘can’t we just stay here? Jesus, have you forgotten all those people down there who want a piece of you?’.

In other words, there are days when I like to play it safe, days when I want to be on the mountaintop and stay there, days when I don’t want to be bothered by the demands placed upon me.

But the reality is, I want to be ready to meet the needs of the people, like Jesus did. I want to greet everyone I meet with a message of hope and a gentle touch, like Jesus did. I want to enjoy the time in the valley as much as the time on the top of the mountain, like Jesus did. I want to use my time on the mountain as a moment of reflection, refreshment and restoration so that I can be ready for what happens when I come back down to face the crowd. I want to be able to face the day, with or without a second cup of coffee, knowing I have taken the time to refuel and get ready for whatever or whomever comes at me, like Jesus did.

If you are reading this at the beginning of the day, I hope you can spend at least a moment with the Lord being reminded of His love for you so that you can be ready for the situations and people that will appear in front of you, like Jesus did.

If you are reading this at some point in the middle of the day, I hope you are comfortable with what God is doing through you, so you can see those in need around you and offer a message of hope and grace, like Jesus did.

And if you are reading this near the end of the day, I hope you can look back over the last twelve to sixteen hours and realize that even in you felt frail, immature and selfish, you were able to express love to someone, like Jesus did.

You may need a second cup of coffee to get you going (or a third and another later in the day), but if Jesus is living in and through you, you can face the day like Jesus did. He will provide refreshment when you need it. All you need to do is take it one day at a time and be a gift of mercy and grace to someone who needs it… like Jesus did.


A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved

Finding Peace Amidst the Chaos

Vol. 19 No. 42 | October 22, 2017

I took part in a discussion this week on the following verse:

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)

During the discussion, insight to the historical setting was given and different uses of the verse were shared. But mostly, the discussion centered around why and how this passage is meaningful in our lives.

For me, the New Century Version seems to capture the essence of the passage very well.

God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I will be praised in all the nations; I will be praised throughout the earth.”

From the context of the chapter and the historical images, it seems that God is speaking to the fact that the world around us often seems to be out of control. Storms, wars, floods, earthquakes, and general chaos are commonplace. It is very easy to get caught up in it all, but God encourages us instead to be still, to find peace amidst the chaos.

The three pauses (Selah) suggested by the musical director calls us to stop after reading or singing and ponder the things that are happening around us. Just pause. Be still for a moment. Observe what has happened. Reflect on what is going on around you. Ask yourself, “How am I handling all this?” Then, as the key verse suggests, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Followed by very 11, “The Lord God almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

As our discussion evolved, these practical certainties surfaced.

There will always be times when the world around us seems out of control. Every week, there is the potential for a new natural or man-made disaster. Disease claims another life. Apparent craziness overwhelms us.

No matter what is going on around you, God is still God and He is in control. So when you start to feel overwhelmed with the chaos around you or within yourself, this might be a good time to sing or hum Martin Luther’s “This is My Father’s World.”

But it isn’t always this easy at times, is it? We are a busy people. Staying busy, even just looking busy, has become a modern-day addiction. However, as difficult as it can be to slow down, there are times when we just need to be still, to cease all activity and quiet our minds. We need to take the time to we remind ourselves that God is God, and we do not need to stand-in for Him. Our rush to ‘get it done so we can rush toward the next thing’ lifestyle isn’t healthy or helping us find the peace that we seek.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (vs. 1) When trouble hits, pause and remember, “The Lord Almighty is with us.” (vs. 7) “Be still and know that God is God.

When I reflect on almost twenty years of writing these notes, I have probably written about this verse more than any other Biblical text. One would think that I would have gotten the message by now. I have for the most part. And then I get busy, things get chaotic, and the world around me and my own inner world seem to rage out of control.

But little by little, I am learning to listen when I receive the prompting to stop, get still, and remember that God is God.

The chaos will always be there if that is what we focus on.  Perhaps this week is the perfect time to start a ritual to help you find your peace. It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate or complicated. Simply find a quiet place and say these words to yourself….

Be still and know that I am God.


A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved