OK, this is a difficult post for me to write when I am the recipient of such mercy and blessing. It’s easier when I’m the giver!
I’ve been without bedding for the better part of 7 months now. In July when I moved, it was discovered that the bed I had was infested with mold and mildew…something that could not be cleaned out or salvaged. The landlord I had at that time didn’t reimburse me, saying that I was “making it all up” and I was out of a bed. Things being as they have been, I could not get anything to replace that mattress set.
A couple in the area is parting out a house that has “like new” furniture in it…showroom furniture probably got more use! They have a queen-size bed that they are giving me. This was all set up by my pastor, who was informed of it and then he passed their contact information on to me. Then, two dear friends of mine, couples both from out of state, both volunteered to send me sheets, pillows, and a comforter.
This is a beautiful illustration of how the Body comes together to meet each other’s needs. This isn’t about one denomination or another doing something. This is about believers doing things for other believers. Such a beautiful thing to see in action, and I am thankful that I am a recipient of such acts.
I would much rather be the giver though…lol
What image comes to mind when I say the word “meditate”? Do you think of dimly lit rooms, candles all around, people humming strange mantras and sitting cross legged on floors with their eyes closed? Do you think “eastern religions” when I say this?
You’d be right, and wrong.
While it’s true that eastern religions use meditation very heavily as a means of detachment from the world, the use of meditation has value to us as Christians because it brings in a whole new dynamic. It allows us to take a step back from this world (the detachment) and allows us to attach ourselves to God. As we draw away from the hustle and bustle of daily living, we are more able to seek God more fully, and listen to that still small voice of His giving us insight into daily living.
Let’s face it: life in the 21st Century is fast paced. We have so many things that have to be accomplished on a day-to-day basis, and very little time to get them all done. And here’s something that may or may not be a secret to you: If the devil can’t get you to sin, he’ll make you too busy. He has a way of getting us so caught up in muchness and busy-ness that we aren’t able to spend the time with God that we usually do…and that makes the devil happy. If you unplug a lamp from it’s power source, it goes out. Same with us…and that’s what busyness does to us…it unplugs us from God.
The art and act of meditation is not new, and it’s common to the Bible because there are two distinct and different Hebrew words used some 58 times throughout the Scriptures to convey the concept. The meanings of these words vary, but what remains the same is that they center around God, His works, His word, His deeds, His law and more. If I were to list all of the references, you would find one common thread that runs throughout them all: Changed living as a result of a “God encounter”. One of the things that can never be overlooked in the Biblical view of meditiation is that repentance and obedience cannot be left out of the equation. This is a separating line between Christian meditation and the mediation of eastern and secular counterparts.
I’m sure that each one of us, myself included, could sit back and say how we have better spent our time. We all have so much to do; we all have family matters, jobs, careers, church obligations, etc. to tend to. We get content in our walk sometimes to hear second-hand messages from pastors, friends, teachers, etc., almost like the Israelites did with Moses (Exodus 20:19). In that we miss so many opportunities to hear from God and get the insight we need to life’s problems. Oh, the power a message, a lesson, a word for someone could have if we really stepped away from our busyness and heard from God! But sometimes we miss out, because we don’t take that time. God is still talking to us today….He didn’t get laryingitis!
Part of being content is that we like where we are. We don’t want to change, give up old habits, or think that where we are is ok. We are content to let the pastor speak, have the worship team sing their songs, and go on with our life. Exodus 20:19 shows us that it’s been like that for a long, long time. The Israelites were content to have Moses be the mediator between them and God, because they were afraid of God. Religious ritual for the sake of ritual does nothing for our walk. When we take the time to meditiate and be alone with God one on one, we run into that one separating factor of repentance and obedience. So, when we grow complacent, we’d rather hear from someone else than hear from God ourselves, because change isn’t something we want to make. That’s when we miss out on God for our own life.
And another thing: This art and act of meditation is not for a spiritual “thrill seeker” either. This is for people who seriously seek to grow and deepen their relationship with God and develop perspective and balance in the world we live in. Am I saying that there aren’t exciting things that happen in these times? No. But I would say that they may be more the exception than the rule. More often, God imparts to us divine direction in the mundane: how to deal with issues in our marriage, issues in the family, business, and other things that could almost be considered “boring”. Thomas Merton said once that “meditation has no point and no value if it is not firmly rooted in life.” and he’s right. We so strongly need God’s guidance in the here and now.
To truly impact our world, and even the little sphere that we call our world that is our family, friends and communities, we need to take the time to draw away and hear from God. So many throughout the scriptures did it. Jesus himself did it. We need His guidance to solve the every day mundane issues we deal with. Men need it to truly find direction as head of the home or for in the business world and know how to deal with those things that affect his family. Women need it to truly find guidance in the matters of family, home, and personal relationships. As believers, we all need it to hear how to live lives that bring Him honor and glory and allow ourselves to be molded into His image.
I challenge you to consider meditiation as a part of your spiritual commitment this year. See what God can do when you truly take the time to listen to Him!
Hello again, blogland!
Yeah, it’s been a few months since you’ve seen me out here. It’s not because of not wanting to, believe me.
You saw the posts about the house phone, and the internet. Well, it wasn’t long after that when things started really cooking. I am in a very delicate situation right now that I’m not going to be detailing here (just yet) but required a lot of time and attention outside of the internet world. It’s not an easy place to be, but sometimes things have to be done this way. Add to that a new computer that’s been purchased and set up, and it’s been 3 months away from writing.
Time to mount a comeback.
So, this week sometime we’re going to be back in full gear (maybe just maybe in time for the Carnival, not sure).
Until then….GO STEELERS and God bless 🙂
Well, we go from internet to home telephone.
And since it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and Deer Season is a “religious holiday” in Pennsylvania, I am without a home telephone until probably Tuesday. At least my cellphone works so people can call me, etc. But in the meantime, I’m still without internet because I’m still dialing up.
Anyone who’d like to donate to my “Overthrow Verizon” fund can email me for more details! I think I can do it for $175!
I hate not having a home internet connection…..
Internet woes have kept me from posting to the blog since Friday.
At least I have a good backlog of material waiting to go? I’ve typed up some good posts, but just can’t get from the computer to the internet. I’m going to save some of them to disk and upload them at work tomorrow over the lunch hour, but in the interim…
Hopefully, the internet stuff will get ironed out soon.
Christian Carnival XCVI (or 96 for those playing along at home) is up and running at Jordan’s View
Very well done, and addresses a broad spectrum of the Christian life. WRW’s post is “Authentic Manhood”
Guys, if there’s one thing we all need to learn it’s to give respect to the women/girls around us.
NO woman deserves to be abused, molested, or raped.
I live with the effects of what several men did to my wife years ago. I struggle in my marriage because I can’t shed the anger. Frankly, I’m mad as hell at the men who did this to her. Today is no exception.
My wife required a very sensitive surgical procedure today, one that is difficult enough for a woman who has not been scarred by the damage of molestation and abuse. To hear her mother tell me about how I have to watch how I say everything, how I do everything, how I dress, how I even BREATHE because of what those men did…well, let’s just say I’m at a boiling point.
If this were the old west, there’d be an old fashioned hanging going down. Unfortunately, the US has become more civilized than that (now we just send them to country-club type prisons rather than actually punish them).
No woman’s life should ever EVER be scarred by abuse and molestation.
And that’s OUR responsibility!
Here’s a wandering thought for you…
Many people believe that it is impossible to begin again once you’ve had a moral failure. I would say that the answer is no, it’s not impossible. Oh yes, there is work required behind it, but it is not impossible. Nothing hurts worse than the collapse or loss of intimacy with a significant other. It’s just like the world ended. Yet the scriptures tell us that you can begin again. After you’ve done the very things that you said you’d never do…after you’ve compromised the very last shred of your integrity…after a moral failure of any kind…you can begin again.
There was Bathsheba-gate. King David spies her from the roof, considers how beautiful she is. This has all the makings of a TV drama: adultery, a bit of hanky panky, and a plotted murder (Uriah, her husband, in battle). Then the paperboy comes calling in the form of Nathan the prophet. All of the sudden, King David is exposed, and everything he’s done in terms of righteousness and achievement is gone. It’s nullified, just like it never happened.
David is attributed to the authorship of Psalm 51. He did the one thing, the only thing, that could be done after being caught so red-handed. He confessed that what he had done was wrong, and asked that his heart be changed…kinda like a transplant of the moral/spiritual variety.
Bathsheba lost that first child she was pregnant with, but eventually bore a second son out of the ashes of this collapse. That child was named Solomon. Solomon, as you may know, is attributed to writing the Proverbs, and throughout his life served the LORD. So yes, you can begin again after a moral failure.
Was thinking about some scripture today as I was reading:
Judges 6:16 — The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
I guess to say the least this is a generation of men lost in a cloud of confusion, and have pretty much been abandoned or failed by their earthly fathers. To tell you some honest truth, my father was an alcoholic that verbally abused me. I was constantly berated, belittled, cussed at, and lectured at and today it is wreaking havoc in my marriage, my relationships with other people, and in some ways my relationship with God.
But God says to me, and to all men, “Don’t aimlessly drift through life. Don’t give in to what the world’s definition of manhood is. Come to me, through Jesus Christ, and let me show you and lead you to what manhood is all about. Be an adopted son, and let me ‘re-father’ you..” (last sentence from Bill Hybels).
God’s answer to Gideon’s question in verse 15: “How can I save Israel, for I am the least of my family and my family is of the least tribe in Manasseh?” shows us that God wants to be personally and intimately involved with all of His children, no matter the circumstances. Scripture repeatedly brings up that desire that God has. God wants to provide all of the warmth, affection, discipline, accountability, and guidance that characterizes a good father-son relationship.
Alas, and even more so for those of us who have had bad “father-son” relationships, it’s not an overnight process nor is it something that happens “automagically” when we become saved. God doesn’t just reach down and give us some sort of transplant while we’re sleeping to fix it. It takes prayer, studying the Word, and listening for God’s voice. It demands that we listen for God’s guidance, and then act on that. Why does God want to do this ‘re-fathering’ process, bringing us to a place where we’re so sure of Him, His approval and guidance, and the promise of heaven?
God wants all of us to step beyond the world’s definition of manhood to a deeper level. He wants emasculated (or girly men…you know you use that phrase…) men to become secure enough to confront timidity, confront fear, take risks and make commitments. He wants all the tough, macho men out there to stop hiding behind false pretenses and masks, stop trying to impress people.
Bill Hybels says this: “The freedom of authentic masculinity is an amazing thing to see. It produces “divine elasticity” in men. Finally they can lead with firmness, yet submit with humility. They can challenge with a cutting edge, then encourage with enthusiasm. They can fight for just causes, then moments later weep over suffering.”
The world’s definition of manhood is way off base. God’s idea of real manhood, that “divinely elastic” man is who He had in mind when He created you and I. We see so many of the traits of the divinely elastic man in Jesus Christ…one who could speak with firmness, yet submit to His Father’s will; challenge the Pharisees in public settings with hard sayings yet encourage His disciples; clear the temple of moneychangers yet stand on a hill and weep over Jerusalem. It’s the man who lets God mold him to that “divinely elastic” man who is truely being molded into a masterpiece.