Tag Archives: meditation

I Chose Love

There seems to be so much in the world that divides us these days. I guess it’s always been that way. Even within groups there are divisions. But I’ve always been one to seek common ground and find ways we can all get along.

The common ground I find is Jesus’ command to love. In 1 Corinthians 12 Jesus is speaking about our gifts and the many members of the body of Christ. He speaks about the greatest of the gifts – love.

Starting at verse 31 He tells us that He is going to show us the most excellent way:

And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

There are many mysteries in life. Jesus tells me  when I see Him face to face I will fully understand. Clearly I don’t understand it all right now. And I am OK with that and I accept that. Within the church there are differences of opinions about how to respond to what is happening in the world.  I have faith and hope that I will understand when I see Him face to face. But the greatest thing I can show now is love.

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Whose Praise Do You Want?

Man Praise

It is a daily task to remind myself that I can’t think like the world or get praise from the world and call myself a child of God at the same time. The two cannot coexist in any peaceful manner within me. One or the other is going to get the short end of the stick.

I was reading John 12 the other day. It is a familiar part of scripture where Jesus is teaching and performing miracles. The time frame was right before the crucifixion. Many people in the land were starting to believe and to follow Christ. The many included some Jewish leaders too. However, they were afraid to openly confess that they were following Christ. They were afraid of being put out of the synagogue.

The scripture says: for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. John 12:43

Have you ever been in that situation? Afraid to speak up for God, afraid to publicly say you follow Christ. I recall a friend saying once, “I believe in Jesus but I’m not some Jesus freak.” I chuckled at that. I never explored fully what the friend meant. My guess is that the friend was worried about what people would say about him. He was more interested in the praise of people.

In my mind, to be totally sold out, wholeheartedly following Jesus, you would be seen as a freak. To live wholeheartedly for Christ means you aren’t following the world. That alone makes you the odd man out. It is an every day, every moment commitment to follow Him wholeheartedly. I don’t know about you but the things of the world have a strong and familiar attraction to them. And as creatures of habit, aren’t we comforted by the things that are familiar? Stepping outside our comfort zone takes work and effort. I have to work at it and I don’t always get it right. But I try.

I have faced the challenge of how I am viewed among friends and acquaintances. I believe right now those who have known me for years – friends and family included – are probably thinking I’ve gone off the deep end. But I have seen and I have experienced His love first hand like no other kind of love. Not even the love from my parents – and I know they loved me. They put up with a bull-headed (my mother’s term for me) child.

So whose praise would you rather have – man’s praise or God’s praise?

Ways to Develop a Closer Relationship with God

field-of-red-flowers

Since returning from a weekend Christian retreat I have been encouraging my son to develop his own prayer and devotional time. I realize as his mother I cannot do it for him. I can invite him to join my time but it would be most effective and have long lasting and more meaning results if he created the time himself. But let’s face it, we are time crunched. We are pressed to fit everything into our busy lives – work, kids, the kid’s activities, taking care of the house, meals and friends. There is very little time left in a day. People are even scheduling time for exercise or scheduling date night with the spouse.

So how do you develop a closer relationship with God? I have some tips. These are not the only way to do it, but for me this has worked. I am still developing and growing. I invite you to share you tips too.

Pick A Time

First you have to be dedicated to schedule regular time. I have to tell you, it took me probably a good year to get into a rhythm for my prayer and devotional time. I discovered that I am not a night owl. I can barely keep my eye open past 10 pm. My midday was just too rushed. Since I’m still among the work stiffs, I am never guaranteed a lunch and finding a quiet place in a busy office building is a challenge.

So I selected early morning. I’m talking EARLY morning. I am usually awake and reading my Bible by 4:30 or 5 a.m. (Which is probably another reason why I’m ready for bed by 10.)

I feel most refreshed at that time of day. The house is still quiet and dark, which for me feel more intimate.

Find Your Spot

You want to find a place that is free of distraction. I personally don’t have a lot of extra room in my house, so I have selected the living room. But I have disciplined myself not to turn on the TV or go to the kitchen. Once I turn the TV on or head to the kitchen to start breakfast or washing dishes from the night before, I become easily distracted.

Decide What to Read

I enjoy reading devotionals. I select just a couple but there are a host of daily devotionals that you can get online. They range from those delivered to your inbox to various apps. For me it’s important to have scripture along with the devotion. It gives a Biblical foundation – backed up by scripture is very important. My daily devotional is followed by my daily Bible reading. A companion to the Bible reading is a Bible commentary. It helps decipher what the Bible is saying. Oftentimes a commentary is written by Bible scholars – people who have had years of study in the original languages the Bible is written.

Time for Mediation and Silence

When I wrap up my devotion and study time, I always devote time to meditation. Meditation is a misunderstood period in the life of a Christian. Because many different religions use meditation, it hasn’t been associated with Christianity as much as it has been with eastern religions. But to meditate means to engage in thought or contemplation or reflection. Think about the scripture you just read – how can the scripture be applied to your life or what can be observed in scripture as a lesson for you.

Finish With Prayer

I always finish with prayer – thanking the Lord for His word, asking Him to help me apply it and of course my prayer requests for family and friends.

If you open your mind and heart to listening and receiving, your relationship with the Lord will develop.

Again, I invite you to share your tips with me.