Saturday, 30 July 2016

Meditation and the Bible.

I was reading a sermon by J.H. Jowett. It was on how to know the mind of Christ through the Bible. Here are some excerpts:

Psalm 1:2"But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night."

"He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water." Who shall? He whose delight is in the law of the Lord. His life shall be rooted in the richest of soils; he shall never lack resources; his soul shall delight itself in fatness. But what is "the law of the Lord"? 

"All the law is fulfilled in one word — thou shalt love." Love is the essence of law. He who delights in love and loving shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water.

Love is the only element in which He works, but it is prepared in different ways. At one time love is very tender, to woo a tender blade; again it is very fierce, to burn a stubborn weed. It reveals itself in different ways to suit men's different needs. If, then, I would know how love should work I must study the mind of Christ, and meditate thereon both night and day. To delight in the law of the Lord is to live as devoted students in the mind of Christ. That mind is opened out for us in the gospels. It is revealed to us how His love disposed itself in very varied circumstances and to very different needs.

We live in an age of mental haste and gallop. Impressions are abundant; convictions are scarce. I tell you, we know almost nothing of the moral and spiritual loveliness of our Jesus, almost nothing of the mind of Christ, because we do not hold ourselves before it in lingering meditation. Why don't we? Why are we not devoted students of these pictures of the mind of Christ? Let us be frank with ourselves. Is not Bible studying wearying and wearisome? To how many of us is it a delight? It is because so many put the virtue in the reading itself. We think when we have read a chapter we have discharged a duty. People open their Bibles, and read a few verses, and close them, and think that by their reading they have pleased God. 

 My text declares that those who live in continual meditation upon the ways of the Lord shall be in a rich rootage. They shall be like trees planted by rivers of water. They shall have vast resources. Are we all planted there? If we are rooted elsewhere our life will be stunted and unhealthy.

You can read the whole sermon here:

I have been trying to meditate on God's word instead of just reading it. I think reading the Bible is good too; but meditating is more helpful. I read less, but think on it more. I try to remember what I read during the day. I pray over whatever I read. I picture the story or Jesus speaking the words. I like meditating. It is actually fun.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

My last post ended with me deciding to have a talk with my husband about our marriage. We did have that talk and everything has been good since then. We both apologized and listened to each other's explanations; I'm glad we worked things out.

This morning, I was thinking about some sermons I had heard by Joyce Meyer on the words we use and how we speak. I realized how important words are; I realized I am not careful enough with my words. I am quick to speak and slow to hear - the exact opposite of, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."  
James 1:19

I'm like Nathaniel, who when he heard about Jesus said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  (John 1:46) Negative, thoughtless words - that's me.

But even though those were his first thoughts, Nathaniel did go see Jesus and after speaking with him said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”  John 1:49

When we talk with others, our words should be uplifting, positive and loving. Paul said, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."  Colossians 4:6

Jesus said, "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart."   Luke 6:45

So, I have some work to do about my mouth and what it speaks. I cannot change myself, because as Jesus said, "Without me, you can do nothing."  John 15:5  But I can give my heart and my mouth to Jesus and ask him to fill them with good things and to not speak so fast, but to listen and think first. This may take Jesus a long time to do in me since I'm a slow learner - but I know he is patient with me and with everyone.

"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." 
 Proverbs 18:21

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Feelings Irritate Me.

Sometimes I have wished I didn't have feelings. Feelings have tripped me up all my life; especially before I read Joyce Meyer's books and watched her videos. She helped me to understand feelings and how I didn't have to let them rule me.

But still, I sometimes wish... My marriage is full of feelings, good and bad. When the feelings are bad I say to God, "Lord, throw my anger into the sea." I thought that would take care of everything. I was wrong. The angry feelings just go down, down, down into my heart and then erupt like a volcano.

So, I tried a different prayer. "Lord, stop me before I start yelling and swearing at him." Oh yes, I do that; not often, but I do it. The Lord did do this for me. The next day my hubby was upset with me about (nothing, trust me) and was irritated and asking why I did this and that. (closed a cupboard door that he wanted open) I could feel this rage rising in me and then I thought, "No." I answered calmly. Okay, this was great.

The next day, I asked hubby something and he said, "Why do you bother me when I'm watching TV?" If I didn't talk to him while he was watching TV I would never talk to him at all. I felt the rage rising. He came into the room, I looked up and screamed, "Lord, help me not to swear at him!"

That night, I asked God, "Where did this rage come from? I don't like it or want it. I want to feel nothing if he hurts my feelings."  I talked and talked with God, and I got my answer as I talked. I said, "I'm tired of being constantly rejected by him. Every time I talk with him he acts like I'm a pain or a bother."

Okay, that's what it was. Something my husband and I had talked about 6 months ago and he had changed and things were better; but now he had reverted to his previous behavior. I wished I could just ignore it, but I knew I couldn't. We would have to have the "talk" about our marriage again. I knew it would hurt his feelings because he doesn't realize how much he hurts me.

I told God I didn't want to talk with him again. I was sick of the whole thing. Still, talking about it and getting it out there was better than rage, swearing and acting not like Jesus. Jesus would never, ever do what I did. He might get some cords and whack some tables, but he wouldn't swear at people.

One thing I know, if I don't confront and face things that are upsetting me I won't get over it. God made us that way. It's like when I was molested as a child. I had to have years of therapy. One day I knew I had to face it head-on and work through it. God made us that way. I wonder why? I'm not sure, but I do know he knows what he's doing. So even though I would like to be a happy robot, I trust God about giving us feelings.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Thorns: The Curse of Adam. The Crown of Christ.

Tonight I read a wonderful sermon by H. Macmillan. He was a preacher in the 1800s. I have never heard or read a sermon about the thorns Jesus wore. Mr. Macmillan ties them to the thorns that were allowed to grow after Adam's fall.

"And God said to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field." Genesis 3:17,18

I've never studied how thorns grow, but Mr. Macmillan did. It's quite interesting. He writes, “A bud by some means or other becomes abortive; there is a deficiency of nutriment to stimulate its growth; it does not develop into blossom and fruit. Its growing point, therefore, is hardened; its scaly envelopes are consolidated into woody fibre, and the whole bud becomes a sharp thorn.” 

Leaves are also occasionally arrested in their development and changed into thorns, as in the stipules of Robinia, of the common barberry, and of several species of acacia. The middle nerve of the leaf in a few instances absorbs to itself all the parenchyma or green cellular substance, and therefore hardens into a thorn; and in the holly all the veins of the leaves become spiny. In all these cases thorns are not necessary, but accidental appendages, growths arrested and transformed by unfavourable circumstances; and nature, by the law of compensation..."

He also explains how if we cultivate the land in an area for some years and then leave it to itself, it will then grow more thorns and weeds than before. He compares that to our lives in Christ. We must cultivate the soil of our hearts each day by prayer and Bible study. If we do not, weeds and thorns will grow of themselves. Our only protection against this is Jesus living inside of us.

Then he writes of Jesus and how he accepted the crown of thorns - a symbol of sin. 

 “Jesus had, therefore, to wear the thorns which man's sin had developed, in order that man might enjoy the peaceful fruits of righteousness which Christ's atonement had produced. And what is the result?

By wearing these thorns He has blunted them, plucked them out of our path, out of our heart, out of our life. By enduring them He conquered them. The crown of pain became the crown of triumph; and the submission to ignominy and suffering became the assertion and establishment of sovereignty over every form of suffering. Evil is now a vanquished power.”

Thank you Jesus for wearing a crown of thorns for us. Thank you for becoming sin itself for us. Thank you for your courage, endurance and patience as you went through terrible suffering for us.

To read H.Macmillan's sermons go to:

Friday, 1 July 2016

Everything is Beautiful.

Photo by: Linschoten pinx; Nicolaas Verkolje fec et exc

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. 
He has also set eternity in the human heart; 
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."  Ecclesiastes 3:11

For a believer in God, everything can be beautiful. No matter what our situation, he is there and makes it beautiful. 

 "Life exhibits a changing succession of weeping alternating with laughing, war with peace, and so forth. For each of these God has appointed its time or season, and in its season each is good. But man does not recognise this; for God has put in his heart an expectation and longing for abiding continuance of the same, and so he fails to understand the work which God does in the world."
Ellicot's Commentary

The world doesn't understand how God can make everything beautiful. There is so much evil in the world; how can God make it beautiful? 

Joseph was hated by his brothers, sold as a slave, falsely accused of rape, sent to prison. How could God bring beauty out of that?

"But Joseph replied to his brothers, "Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you?
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."  Genesis 50:19,20

Most of us don't understand why bad things happen to us or other people. Apparently, we don't have to understand. When Job complained bitterly to God about his life, God didn't come and explain to him why it was happening. He did however say this, "Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." Job 38:2-4 God was saying he wasn't a mere man, he was the God of all creation and he knows what he is doing.

"Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?"   Job 40:7,8

What was the beauty that came out of Job and Joseph's suffering?  It was a witness to the world, the angels and the universe that a man can stay true to believing in God even when he has terrible suffering. Is this important? Yes, very important, because Satan is not just an accuser of the brothers and sisters in the church, he is an accuser of God. He tells us God is cruel to let us suffer, and many believe it. I used to believe it myself. He doesn't want us to know it was he himself who brought suffering to this world and is the prince and god of this world. Humans chose Satan, and because of freedom of choice, God must give Satan some freedom to rule this world. Jesus bought us back with his death. We now have a choice to choose Evil or Good. We can choose who will rule over us.

When Christians were being burned at the stake by the many thousands during the dark ages, the Christians said, "Our blood is seed." They said this because as they suffered from persecution, other people saw it and were impressed by their courage and beliefs. The more believers died, the more were converted. God did bring something beautiful out of being burned alive, out of being thrown in prison, out of losing all your children. 

I read recently about a man who was with some Christians when ISIS took over a city. ISIS soldiers told the Christians they must renounce Christ or they would lose their heads. The Christians said they would not renounce Christ. A man who was not a Christian was standing by watching. He walked over and said, "I am also a Christian." He became a Christian in a moment of time when he saw what the Christians were doing. He probably knew about Christ; but now he wanted Christ." They were all beheaded. 

God spoke to my heart once and said, "You have need of endurance." Yes, I did. I wanted out of this ugly world. But after months of praying about this I have come to see my life as beautiful. It was the pain in my life that led me to God. Without it, I would have gone my merry way being happy but hurting others; thinking only of myself and wanting my own way all the time. In my opinion, that is what a life without God looks like.

"Paul said,  "Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:7-10

I never thought I could delight in my weaknesses and hardships. But I do delight in them now because when I realize how weak I am, it is then I am strong.