Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Week Twenty-Six - Meditate


This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”  Joshua 1:8

The main focus of our meditation is to be God’s Word.  God instructs Joshua to make it paramount in his life - day and night thinking and adjusting his life according to God’s Word.  Seeking to obey at every turn.
The goal of meditation is obedience.  As we come to understand what we are meditating upon, we must also seek to actively apply it to our lives.  Only by obedient application of truth will we find the success God promised Joshua. 

Look again at the verse.  Meditate…observe…do.  Here is the method of meditation God gave to Joshua.
Meditate - ponder, concentrate your thought upon.

Observe - like a sleuth; watch carefully how you are applying what the Word is saying.  Look for the motives and thoughts behind the Scripture.  What would this teaching look like in real life?  Imagine the usage of the verse’s instruction in various situations – take time to consider what is being taught.  

Do - perform it.  Work at it.  Act it out.
It will require discipline and perseverance, yet we act because we know God honours obedience above all.  Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again…”  We will not quit.  If we are to succeed in our pursuit of holiness we must persevere in spite of failure.  We must be actively seeking to live out what we learn and observe from Scripture.

Do you have a favourite verse of Scripture?  Why not use it for meditation practice?  Try today’s method – Meditate – Observe – Do.


Think on these things….”  Philippians 4:8

I think this is the simplest definition for meditation: to think upon.  It has been said that what we think about we eventually do or become.  I know in my own life that my thoughts do control my moods and my reactions.

Have you ever had a song get stuck in your head?  Or, maybe a word?  Or, a wild idea?  It can be really hard to get it to go away!  Well, meditation can be like that too.  A special Scripture, or a precious truth can also be planted in our thoughts so that it can be used of the Holy Spirit to direct our moods, reactions, and attitude and it can stay with us all day, if we will focus our thinking upon it!

This verse in Philippians directs us toward deciphering our thoughts.  It is a wonderful tool.  Simply take the thought and test it by the list given.  Is the thought true, is it honest, is it just (fair), is it pure, is it lovely, is it of good report (worth repeating publically) is it virtuous (good) and is it worth praise?

So what it if fails to meet the test?  Then toss it out!  Refuse to think about it.  Write it out as a sentence and then change it to a statement that would meet the criteria.  Confess the wrongful thought to the Lord and ask Him to show you others ways to think.

The mind is a muscle and Scripture teaches us how to exercise it.  A well-exercised, disciplined mind is a great tool.  Think about it!

What thoughts take precedent in your mind?  Do you need to test them against God’s Word?  Do you need to toss some of them aside?


“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”  Psalm 94:

Meditation can be very difficult in the world in which we live.  We are assaulted with information continually through television, radio, personal music devices, computers and the general noise of life.  Our thoughts can become so confusing and crowded that a quiet place is virtually impossible. 
We get just too busy with stuff that we fail to take time for the things that give life meaning and fulfillment.  It is wonderful when God stops us long enough for us to recognize His beauty and interaction in our lives.  We are whirling round and all of a sudden a song speaks to our hearts, or a word is heard that brings great comfort and love to our soul.  Isn’t it amazing how God can break through even the busiest moment with his love and care?
That special moment is a perfect opportunity to stop the whirling and respond to His love.  Relish the moment.  Make yourself a record of the interaction by journaling it, or sharing it with someone else.

In all thy ways acknowledge Him…” That is what the writer of Proverbs is telling us.  And this acknowledgment comes with a promise…”and He shall direct thy paths.”

God’s interaction is not an interruption.

What noise do you need to eliminate from your life in order to meditate and hear from God?  Do you take time to acknowledge His working in your life?


This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”  Joshua 1:8

“Observe to do”.  Let’s think about that just a bit more.  It means, “to consider well, to watch carefully.”  Meditation increases our ability to discern our thoughts and actions.  It gives us an inner guide or strength that has not come from our own mind, but from the observance of Scriptural example and admonition.
It is an interesting practice to train your mind to think about the motives behind the words you say and the deeds you do.  Try this, before you respond to your child, spouse, or work colleague, ask yourself, “Why am I responding in this manner?  What do I hope to accomplish or what outcome do I desire?  What part of my own ego will be caressed by this response?”  Many times you find that you are acting from pride or a desire to manipulate the situation or others for your own gain rather than a desire to be used of God as a tool for health in the situation.  It can be very humbling!
We aren’t really complex creature, just sinful ones!  We want to make our lives happy and easy and sometimes we don’t care who we hurt in the process.  We don’t observe our lives; we just plunder through.  We don’t examine ourselves; we criticize others. We don’t seek to live by God’s rules; we live by our own.  Then we wonder why life is hard and why others don’t play with us nicely.
Real success isn’t all about money.  It is all about accountability and resourcefulness.  It is about being able to lay your head on your pillow without regret or guilt.  Success is a peaceful and contented life brought about by observing God’s Word and consistently applying it to our lives.

Are you capable of discerning your own motivation?  Do you observe to do the right things?  Are you scripturally successful?


Meditate on these things, give thyself wholly to them;
 that thy profiting may appear to all.”  I Timothy 4:15

Paul is speaking to Timothy about life skills and the use of the gifts God had entrusted to him.  He instructs him to really think about all he has been given and to use them fully so that others will see God at work in his life.  In the next verse he goes on to encourage him to keep his life pure and his doctrine defined both for his benefit and for the benefit of those around him.
This is simple and clear instruction for us as well.  There are Biblical life skills that we all need to learn and practice.  From just this one chapter we can see the need to discern who we would listen to and follow, to avoid gossip, to live a godly life, to be a good example in our speech, lifestyle, and spirit, to keep ourselves in the Word of God and prayer, to know our doctrine and to use the gifts God has given us for other.
There are also blessings attached.  If we follow God’s design for life, we will be useful, nourished, and thankful.  Ultimately, our light will shine, because our “profiting” will be apparent to those around us. This profiting means progress.  Others will see us growing and gaining.
So, meditation and the observance of what we learn are beneficial for our growth.  It increases our testimony and spiritual stamina.  It gives us a witness, or rather, it gives God the witness.  Because, as others see us growing and developing they will either recognize that God is working in our lives and give Him glory, or, they will ask us about what they see and we can give Him glory as we share our new found secrets of live.
Either way we profit!  Either way we have success!  Meditate on this! Think about it.  Think about your life…is it profiting and can those around you see it?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week Twenty-Five - Keep


“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”  Jude 21

This is an active word.  It denotes “to watch over, persevere and is related to observing and giving heed unto as of keeping commandments.”

We are to be actively keeping ourselves in such a position - living inside the parameters of the love of God by obedience as his child. We are admonished to do our part (keep ourselves) obedient.  Then there is the promise of verse 24 – “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling…”   We do our part by obedience and God does His part!

As life’s trials tempt us to throw off integrity, honestly and faithfulness, we are to recognize that the mercy of God is there to give us strength to endure and keep ourselves where we should be and doing what we know is right and acceptable in the eyes of God; keeping ourselves inside His love and protection.

It might mean we need to add some things to our lives.  It might mean we need to subtract some things, but no matter what adjustments we are called upon to make, we make them in order to show our love and obedience and to stay in His will.

Do you need to make some adjustments in order to keep yourself in the love of God?


“ keep himself unspotted from the world.”  James 1:27

Jim Berg, in his book, Changed Into His Image, challenges the believer to examine all areas of his life to see if they are “flesh-free”.  He makes the analogy of fat-free foods to paint a picture of the spiritual life void of potentially harmful substances.  The Book of James says that a truly religious person will hold holiness and separation as a principle of life.  Being “unspotted” is to live cleanly, to live untainted, to live on a different plain and by a different set of standards.

Music is but one area where the world makes a spot in our lives.  DVD’s, movies, and other entertainments spot us. Attitudes, priorities, and goals that do not match God’s Word also reveal spots.  Fashion and “alternative life-styles” try to dictate our manner of life.  All of these things are the world’s attempt to pull us away from purity and bring us away from God’s standard.

We are not to be monk-like hermits, but our lives and loves should be different.  Our pleasures should be found in Christ more than in what the world has to offer.  Our deepest joys should be found in service and fellowship.  The world should be a temporary place – not a comfort zone.

Is your life “flesh-free”?  Or, do you have some harmful “fats” in your life that are causing spots?


“...keep in memory...”  I Cor. 15:2

Paul was admonishing believers to keep in memory the gospel, which had been preached to them.  This gospel had given them eternal life and a solid foundation upon which to stand.  Isaiah also tells us to remember where we came from – a pit. 

We were lost and without hope until the Rock of our Salvation lifted us up and put us on solid ground. “Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”  Isaiah 51:1

Sometimes we can get so full of ourselves as Christians that we forget we are simply sinners who have been forgiven.  We get too prideful or too complacent about our position in Christ and become judgmental, hard, and unforgiving.  We fail to keep the gospel in memory.  We lose our lustre and savour. 

A humble person is one who recognizes his place.  He knows where he came from, why he is here, and where he is going, but he knows it is all from grace – not merit.  He serves so as to reach out and offer the same opportunity to others.  He keeps in memory the gracious forgiveness of His Saviour and from there he follows on.

Do you need to revisit the cross?  Do you need to take time to reflect on where you were when Christ found you?  Have you grown judgmental and hard?  Keep in memory the pit from whence you were digged!


“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.” 
I John 2:5

Obedience is one of the key elements of a Christian life, yet one with which so many struggle.  We are quick to say that children should obey their parents.  Few would argue that employees should obey their employers or that citizens should obey the law. Yet, many adults struggle with those two simple points alone!  We complain about rules and regulations and thwart authority trying to get our own way.

And when it comes to Bible, we all like to think that we are obedient - yet many times we are guilty of using God’s Word deceitfully as we try to twist it just enough to allow us to do what we want, or to make us look right.

If we are going to keep His word faithfully and see God’s love maturing in us, we must move to a higher level of obedience.  We will need to judge our actions and motives by His Word and we will have to agree with God.  There is no place for arguing and debating with His Word.  There is no place for mixing His truth with worldly or faulty philosophy.  God’s Word can seem hard – but the fruit is sweet and the reward sure to those who keep His Word.

The obedient Christian shines like no other not only in the home, but also in the workplace and community.  Obedience brings about it’s own blessing, and according to this verse, God’s love is matured and revealed.

What is your obedient quotient?  How are you doing in your attitude of obedience?  Are you keeping the law – the law of your employer, the wider community – in order to let your light shine forth?


“Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”  I Peter 4:19

No one likes to suffer, especially when it feels undeserved.  But suffering is a part of the will of God.  Suffering does not always mean that we are doing wrong personally.  Sometimes it comes a part of growth, sometimes as a result of another’s mistakes, but however it comes, Peter gives us an attitude or position from which to endure. 

Commit the keeping – set before or entrust – your soul to God.  It has the idea of submitting.  You are saying, “Lord, I know and believe that you are faithful.  You are my Creator.  You know what is happening.  I can trust you to take me through.  I will not fight against your will!”

A little quote that is pinned up by my computer reads, “Don’t confuse your path with your destination.  Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean that you aren’t headed for sunshine.”  If we are going to commit the keeping of our souls to God, we must believe that He has everything under control even in the midst of a storm!

Then Peter adds an active instruction – well doing.  It simply means doing good especially for the benefit of others.  When time of suffering comes, we are admonished not to let the focus be all on ourselves!  Tiegreen put it this way, “Do not let the pain become bigger than the Comforter.” Get up and do good!

Instead of nursing your hurts, seeking revenge or falling apart, accept the suffering for what it is – a test of your faith in God.  Set self aside and entrust your soul to him.  Then, go out and do good.  Do the next right thing for the benefit of others and for the glory of God.

What hurts or injustices do you need to commit to God?  Are you wallowing in self-pity?  Are you doing good for others, or waiting for others to do good to you?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Week Twenty-Four - Hold


“He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.”  Proverbs 11:12

“Forever hold your peace” is a phrase commonly heard in a marriage ceremony.  The audience is given opportunity to voice any reservations about the marriage and if no one voices their concern at that moment, they are instructed to not mention anything contrary forever.  I’ve been to many weddings, but have yet to hear anyone speak up!

The instruction to hold our peace here in Proverbs is not limited to a wedding ceremony.  The picture is of one keeping silent in the face of provocation or frustration.

Clarke’s Commentary on this verse reads:  “He that is void of wisdom – a foolish man is generally abundant in his censures; he dwells on the defects of his neighbour, and is sure to bring them into the most prominent view.  But a man of understanding – a prudent, sensible man, hides those defect wherever he can, and puts the most charitable construction on those which he cannot conceal.”

I really like that.  It isn’t that we should never say anything, but that we should be choosing carefully what we do say.  Barnes puts it like this, “The wise man, if he cannot admire or praise, will at least know how to be silent.”

Provocation and frustration are temptations for us all and many times we yield and blurt out words that we later regret.  Maybe we ought to consider the public ears and know when to speak up and when to hold our peace!

What about your words?  Are you critical of others?  Are you publically verbal about your frustrations? What changes do you need to make in your verbal assessment of others?


“Hold me up, and I shall be safe:  and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.”  Psalm 119:117

Ever felt that you needed a hug or someone to hold you?  Life can get so heavy and weary that you feel you just can’t quite take it any more. Then, someone comes along with a kind word, a good handshake, or a big hug and things feel a bit better.  The Psalmist is asking God for exactly this – a good hug.  The word actually means to sustain, support or refresh.  Isn’t that great? God knows we need support and refreshment and He knows exactly how best to give it!

I was very close to my great-grandparents and I remember the passing of my great-grandfather.  I was about eleven years old.  I was very sad, but my father came along with a hug and held me.  I felt so safe and comforted.  In times of bereavement a gentle hug goes a long way.

Matthew Henry said, “Our holy security is grounded on Divine supports”.  We have a place to go when life gets weary.  A place where we can find the comfort, refreshment and security we are seeking.  We cannot live without this grace of God.  The knowledge that the everlasting arms are there for us gives us strength and comfort.  When all around us is whirling and trying to bring us down, we can be assured that the Lord will hold us up.  We are safe in his arms.

Need a hug today?  Then just stop resisting and allow the Lord to meet your need!


“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  Matthew 6:24

I memorized this verse years ago. I was struggling with worrying over finances so I studied this portion of the Sermon on the Mount and took my worries over and over to the Lord.  I realized that I had to choose who was going to control my life – the Lord, or the money.  It wasn’t an easy thing.  We had a young family and a low income, but we also had the Lord, and as I worked through this I saw Him provide in many ways.  I came to realize that money comes and money goes, but God is always there.

The word “hold” here means to be devoted to, or to cleave to.  That word cleave has the idea of being stuck unto.  And we sure can get stuck into worry on money!  The verse is telling us that we need to understand that we will be devoted to that which we love supremely.  It is warning that we are faced with the choice. The outcome and/or consequences will reveal our choice.  There are no two ways about it!

For me, this wasn’t a one-time choice.  The Lord has brought me back to this decision many times as I see greed or worry creeping into my life because of financial difficulties or challenges.  It has always brought me to question myself, “Whom do I love?  Whom do I trust?”  It is easy to say I trust the Lord and love Him, but my choices will reveal the truth and they are obvious in my actions.

What about you?  Do you worry over finances?  Are you greedy of gain?  Do you participate in get-rich-quick schemes and games?  Judge yourself – there are only two choices.


“My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go:  my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.”  Job 27:6

Poor old Job, all of his friends are trying to find fault with his life and blaming him for his consequences.  But Job protests his sincerity.  He truly believes that it is the hand of God upon his life and he has determined to hold fast, as he stated in 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”

When he says he will hold fast to his righteousness, he is not referring to his own personal perfection, but he is placing his faith and confidence in the righteousness of his Redeemer.  He had determined that this trial would not cause him to waver in his devotion to the Lord.  He would not allow his heart to speak foolishly. 

I John 2:28 gives us a similar instruction.  “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”  Job knew that he wanted to stand confident before the Lord as good servant.  We, too, need to have our sights on the future when we will stand before the Lord.  All through the Bible and the ages past men and women have made this choice.  They have determined, as Daniel of old, not to defile themselves, but to maintain their righteousness in the sight of God and to keep hold of their hearts so they can have a good reward.

To “hold fast” is to be so minded.  What about you?  Are you solid?  Are you determined to follow the Lord no matter the circumstances and remain self-controlled?  Can you say, like Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him?”


             “…Hold fast that which is good.”
                       I Thessalonians 5:21

To hold fast is an instruction given many times in Scripture.  It always has the idea of holding firmly, to anchor, to take possession, retaining and seizing. To end this study, let’s look at the many things we are told to hold fast.

I Thessalonians 5:21 – hold to - that which is good. 
Take time to evaluate what comes through your life.  Listen to what you are being taught.  Evaluate it by Scripture and the Spirit.  Keep the good part and refuse the bad.  Become a good person filled with goodness.

Hebrews 10:23 – hold to - the profession of our faith.
Be sure of your salvation.  Be sure of your doctrine and live by it.

Revelation 2:25 – hold to - that which we already have. 
Matthew Henry says,  “All Christians should earnestly desire that their last works may be their best works.”  Along our walk we have learned some things and developed some Christian qualities.  Hold fast to these as you wait for the Lord’s coming.

II Timothy 1:13 – hold to - sound words.
God has a plan and it is found in His Word.  These are sound words upon which you can build a life.  They are not merely words, but doctrines, principles and instructions, which will give us a good life if we will maintain them and apply them.  There are laws of life, like the law of sowing and reaping, that we are wise to understand.  These are sound words that do not change.

It all comes down to where you place your anchor.  Are you anchored in the things of God?  Do you know the value and wisdom in holding fast to God’s instruction?  Have you experienced failure when you have just let go and done your own thing?