Monday, August 31, 2015

TOO MANY VOICES


There is an abundance of opinionated voices telling us what’s wrong, what to believe and why. If you’re like me, you find yourself listening with some apprehension and suspicion to the rants and laments of religious and secular culture.




This is not new with our generation. Jesus spoke to his time and said,


John 10:
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 


In meditation with the Scriptures and the presence of Holy Spirit, we practice voice recognition. We sift out the thoughts that originate from other places. We experience the revelation of Jesus Christ with wisdom that brings us to life.

Paul talked to the church in Corinth about this phenomenon of hearing too many other voices.


1 Corinthians 4:
15 You may have 10,000 instructors in the faith of the Anointed One, but you have only one father. In Jesus the Anointed I have become your father through my efforts in spreading the good news. 16 So as your father in the faith, I want to encourage you to live as I have lived. Imitate my life. 17 This is one of the reasons I sent Timothy to be with you. He is my dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord. His mission is to remind you of the way I experience life in the Anointed. In all the churches everywhere I go, I teach the same lessons the same way, and I live out those lessons.
(The Voice)


Who are you listening to? You may hear 10,000 ideas and opinions but you will know when you hear the truth that brings you to life and leads you to grow. Let’s practice the mind of Christ as we process our lives. What wisdom and truth do you need to face the wilderness challenges of living in 2015?

Listen for God’s voice.



Friday, August 28, 2015

THE PERMEATED LIFE


Jesus was permeated with the Word of God. We can practice biblical meditation with most of the same factors in Jesus’ life. Let me illustrate with the analogy of a cup of tea. Picture a clear glass cup.



In this analogy your mind is the cup of hot water and the tea bag represents your intake of Scripture.

Hearing God's Word is like one dip of the tea bag into the cup. Some of the tea's flavour is absorbed by the water, but not as much as would occur with a more thorough soaking of the bag.

Reading, studying, and memorizing God's Word is like additional plunges of the tea bag into the cup. The more frequently the tea enters the water, the more permeating its effect.

Meditation, however, is like immersing the bag completely and letting it steep until all the rich tea flavour has been extracted and the hot water is thoroughly tinctured reddish brown.

Meditation on Scripture is letting the Bible brew in the brain. Thus we might say that as the tea colours the water, meditation likewise "colours" our thinking. When we meditate on Scripture it colours our thinking about God, about God's ways and his world, and about ourselves.[1]

Could we say that this is simply a combination of passionate study and human discipline? What’s the difference between being permeated with the Scriptures or the works of Shakespeare?

When Paul is teaching the church in Corinth, he takes them beyond just a zealous, book learning approach when it comes to the wisdom of God. Scholarship and tradition are not enough to comprehend God’s message. Holy Spirit must be our teacher—our private tutor if you will.


1 Corinthians 2:
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.


It is the involvement of Holy Spirit in our life that takes us into experiencing the mind of Christ. We can actually think thoughts that resonate with how Jesus thought. Think about it! Christian meditation with the Scriptures takes the message of God and creates a dialogue with Holy Spirit where we are imparted wisdom.

If you have experienced this, you know that God speaks through the Scriptures and has a recognizable voice. In meditation we discern the voice of the Good Shepherd.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

WWJTA - WHAT WOULD JESUS THINK ABOUT?


To understand Christian meditation we should ask, “What sort of thoughts were in Jesus’ mind? What would Jesus think about?” Is it possible for us to learn how to think like Jesus thought?



Though living in another culture from a different age, we can say with certainty that Jesus was fully human and would have thought about many of the same things that occupy human minds. Jesus thought about girls and money and the future. He wondered about death and suffering. He thought about his identity and the needs of others. He thought about God and religion.

From his childhood Jesus was raised with the Scriptures. In his schooling, family life and synagogue he had daily exposure to the history and instruction of God’s People through the Law and the Prophets. At the age of twelve, he amazed holy men in the Temple with his profound understanding of God’s Word.

His ministry at age 30 would resonate with the text and timbre of the ancient verse. He went beyond memorizing and familiarizing—he was the embodiment of God’s Word.

We see Jesus at the beginning of his ministry heading into deep thought in the wilderness. From the freshness of the river baptism with the Father’s voice and the dove descending, he heads into the loneliest of places to ponder, moan and listen. He enters a quiet place to meditate with the affirmation of His Father and the Presence of Holy Spirit.


 Matthew 4:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.


Sometimes in our wilderness thoughts, we are tempted by similar ideas.

·      How can I satisfy my appetites in an unnatural way?
·      Will the urgency of my need overtake the importance of waiting for an appropriate time?
·      How far must I go to prove myself?
·      How invincible do I think I am?
·      Is there a shortcut to my destiny?
·      Who or what will I give myself to rather than God?


Do you see what happens in temptation? Your greatest temptations want to occupy the place of your greatest trust.


The wilderness struggle of Jesus gives us insight into how Jesus thought about his temptations. His mind was filled with the Word of God. Three times he responds to the struggle by saying, “It is written.”

This was not just a Bible memorizer playing ‘fill-in-the-blanks’. Jesus responsiveness to external pressure came from an internal reservoir of Truth. The Lord meditated, pondered and groaned his way through the Law and the Prophets until they laid a foundation from which He could see and think.




Saturday, August 22, 2015

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?





All of us think about many things through our waking and often our sleeping hours. What’s on your shortlist of reoccurring thoughts?






·      Your past
·      Your future
·      Health
·      Relationships
·      Money
·      Responsibilities
·      Hopes
·      Failures
·      Sex
·      Death
·      God and spirituality


These are common things we meditate, ponder and groan over. Do you ever get tired of some of your thoughts? Do you wish that you could stop thinking and resolve issues better?

In looking at the practice of Christian meditation, we are entering the realm of our mind. We see the need to empty our mind of anxious and dysfunctional thoughts and be filled with something better. We all have personal reasons to want to change our mind. Part of the process involves the Scriptures.

The objective for biblical meditation is to make the conceptual nature of the Word of God a reality in your life. Some people confuse bible reading with biblical meditation. It is very important to read the bible. But there is a difference between causally reading the Word of God and meditating on the Word of God.[1]


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