Monthly Archives: December 2015

intentionality and intensity

Meditation Journey Day 18

Hi Friend,

My goal in writing you these reflections is to hopefully give to you insight into the Biblical pattern of growing your spiritual life. This passage is just one of many I could walk you through from the Old and New Testaments that reveal that journey. Psalm 1, Psalm 119, John 15, Isaiah 55, Titus 3, and Matthew 13 are only some of the chapters with repeated instruction to meditate in God’s Word and abide in Him. The purpose in each of these passages is to grow the inner person into the Image of His Dear Son and know the Living God. (Romans 8:29)
This passage in Proverbs 2:1-5 is like all the other passages in that they all stress the intentionality and intensity of the process. Read below and listen for both of these perspectives in our passage.

My son, if you receive my words and hide/memorize/treasure up my commandments with you, turning/applying/tuning your inner ear to be attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry/call out for Wisdom/insight/knowledge and raise your voice for (the grace to do His will and get) understanding, if you seek it/her like silver/gold/rubies or precious jewels and search for it/her as for treasures hidden by unbelief, then (and only then) you will understand the fear/awe of the LORD and find the wisdom/knowledge of God.

Please understand I am not saying or implying that this process of seeking God is necessary to be “Born Again” as Jesus describes in John 3. That is a Sovereign act of the grace of God and relies solely on the Work accomplished by Jesus Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection.

What I am convinced of, certain of, and confident of is that if we are to make spiritual progress to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29) then we are required to participate in this process. I also know that the more we yield to God’s Spirit to do these things the more we will be transformed.

StarsI said all of the above to repeat verse 4: if you seek it/her like silver/gold/rubies or precious jewels and search for it/her as for treasures hidden by unbelief. That is some of the intentionality and intensity of the process. If you choose not to seek God like this His Love will not diminish for you, but if you want to see the brilliance of the stars at night you have to go outside.

Observation: The process of understanding the Fear of the Lord and finding the knowledge of God is intentional and intense.

Interpretation: The process to grow in God is clear and easy to see, yet the process is not easy. It requires us to be intentional and intense in seeking God. Just as searching for a lost and hidden treasure will take time, energy and often be inconvenient. The scripture makes no apologies for the cost required to mature in Christ.

Application Prayer: Father God, as I understand your expectation of obedience I am overwhelmed with my own inadequacy and weakness. Help me to keep my spiritual eyes on Jesus and off myself. I humble myself to allow the Joy of the Lord to be my strength and to release your Peace and Word to dwell in me richly with all thanksgiving.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

I hope you will pray for me and all the others that are on this journey. You may also want to send me comments, suggestions or questions. I promise I will respond to each inquiry.

if and only if

Meditation Journey Day 17

Hi Friend,

If and only ifWe began our discussion of Proverbs 2:1-5 by focusing on the three “ifs” of the passage, now we approach the “then”. In my paraphrase of verse five I have added the words and only then” emphasizing that all of the three conditions need to be fulfilled to get maximum results. I know God can begin to reveal His grace to us at any point along the way. He is Sovereign and relates to each of us uniquely. Yet, He gives us all these conditions because we need them if we are to glorify the Father, bear much and demonstrate we are His disciples. John 15:8

Let’s review the whole passage again…..

My son, if you receive my words and hide/memorize/treasure up my commandments with you, turning/applying/tuning your inner ear to be attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry/call out for Wisdom/insight/knowledge and raise your voice for (the grace to do His will and get) understanding, if you seek it/her like silver/gold/rubies or precious jewels and search for it/her as for treasures hidden by unbelief, then (and only then) you will understand the fear/awe of the LORD and find the wisdom/knowledge of God.

My Child, if you receive … store/hide … incline/turn… apply … call out … cry aloud … seek/look for … search then (and only then) you will understand the fear/awe of the LORD and find the wisdom/knowledge of God.

2planting seedsMy vegetable garden teaches me much about my spiritual garden. I may have the best of seed and poor soil and get a very poor yield of vegetables. I may have good seed, good soil and if I do not water sufficiently it will also yield poorly. I may have great seed, good soil, enough water but too little sunlight and you guessed it… I should expect a poor yield of edible fruit. Or I could plant good seed in good soil in a sunny area and water properly and then enjoy abundance of fruit!

There are conditions to produce abundant growth in the natural world and in the spiritual world there are conditions too. Proverbs 2:1-5 tells us the process that releases our hearts to love Father God and follow His commands. It is love of Him that motivates us to want to honor Him.

Keep in mind, I could memorize many verses yet not with brokenness humility toward God and gain only knowledge. Or I could fulfill all my religious duties and never open my heart to the emotional empathy needed to touch another life.

The Apostle Paul said it this way:  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13)

The question is what kind of fruitfulness we want in our lives.

Paul wrote in Galatians six,Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

VineiStock_000014052286XSmall2Our spiritual growth depends on how we garden our soul. We must nurture our soul as God instructs, not as we fancy. Spiritual fruitfulness comes then and only then as we abide in Christ. Jesus said it clearly in John 15, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing… (but) If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

Observation: Father God gave us instructions for spiritual growth. Proverbs 2:1-5 contains three conditions which when humbly done will result in a transforming relationship with God.

Interpretation: The conditions of spiritual growth are like the conditions for natural growth in that when they are humbly followed abundant fruit will come.

Application Prayer: Father grant us patience to plant in us Your word as you instructed, to tend our souls as Your Spirit has guided, and to abide in the Vine as Jesus has insisted. We want to glorify You, bearing much fruit to demonstrate that we are following Jesus!  In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

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I hope you will pray for me and all the others that are on this journey. You may also want to send me comments, suggestions or questions. I promise I will respond to each inquiry.

The Treasure’s Cost

Meditation Journey Day 16

Hi Friend,

Our passage says we are to seek and search for wisdom as for hidden treasures. The treasure of Wisdom is hidden from those that do not seek the Lord Jesus Christ, because of their unbelief. Some cringe at statements like this because the cry comes, “Is there not other ways to get wisdom?” Do you remember the definition of Biblical wisdom? Wisdom is the insight and knowledge of the true nature of life and things. It is the theory and ability to view life from God’s perspective. If you want God’s wisdom, then you must go to the source.

He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.” (John 14:16)  He is the Door to the sheep-fold and if we are to enter the fold it will be through Him. True wisdom of life is never separate from Jesus, therefore seeking and searching will begin with His Word and the seeking of His Face. That is what having faith in Jesus means. As Hebrews 11 states: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Seeking and searching starts with the Word of God and includes the humble receiving and the regular storing of the Word in our hearts. Our continual repentance with tears of grief over our sin and joy because of His grace is also a part of seeking His face. If we are to gain the understanding of what we believe it must also embrace the going and doing of His will.

Have you noticed that the more we stay on this meditative path the longer this passage of Proverbs 2:1-5 becomes!

My son, if you receive my words and hide/memorize/treasure up my commandments with you, turning/applying/tuning your inner ear to be attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry/call out for Wisdom/insight/knowledge and raise your voice for (the grace to do His will and get) understanding, if you seek it/her like silver/gold/rubies or precious jewels and search for it/her as for treasures hidden by unbelief, then (and only then) you will understand the fear/awe of the LORD and find the wisdom/knowledge of God.

My Child, if you seek wisdom like silver and search for wisdom as for treasures hidden by unbelief,

Jesus told us how to seek the kingdom and its treasure of wisdom. In Matthew 13, He made it very clear that receiving His treasures will cost us everything. Pearl“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found , went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Your cost to buy the pearl of great price may include the giving of time to serve others or the giving of money to God’s Kingdom. It may even include the giving up of grudges and forgiving the undeserving. It will cost you your arrogance, pride and unbelief. It will cost you your independent spirit and personal philosophies about God. There is no one sequence in seeking and searching for God’s Wisdom, just one source: Jesus Christ! It will cost you everything, but you will be wealthier then if you owned the whole world.

Observation: Jesus Christ and the Word are the sources of seeking and searching to find God’s wisdom. He is the only way to the Father’s House. It will cost us our most precious possessions.

Interpretation: The treasure we seek is hidden by unbelief. Our seeking starts with believing God exists, and He is the rewarder of all who seek Him. Jesus is God, and we will never find God’s wisdom outside of knowing Him. The reward is eternal and richer than anything this world offers.

Application Prayer: Father, please open our spiritual eyes to see your King and Kingdom. We hunger for more zeal to seek Your Kingdom and righteousness.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

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I hope you will pray for me and all the others that are on this journey. You may also want to send me comments, suggestions or questions. I promise I will respond to each inquiry.

Search as for hidden treasure!

Meditation Journey Day 15

Hi Friend,

Little words can have major consequences!

“…and if”, remember we noticed the three ifs in Proverbs 2:1-5? Now I want us to ponder that twice we have the joining word “and”. As you reflect on any passage always look at every word. None of them are extra or meaningless. The conjunction “and” in our passage binds together each of the “if” statements. It is not enough to only memorize or pray or do acts of serving individually to engraft the Word into our lives. To be transformed into His image God wants all of these working together. Together they bring our entire self into fellowship with Him. All three processes described in these verses give you insight into a meditative journey to know Christ.

Today we begin to chew on verse three “and if you look for it as for silver andGold panning search for it as for hidden treasure.” Verse one challenged our minds to receive and memorize. Verse two challenged our emotions to become deeply broken. Verse three requires us to move. Knowing God and following Jesus takes us outside of our comfort zone. We are to seek and search as we hunger to know Jesus.

I made some changes in the passage. I am sure you will notice them?

My son, if you receive my words and hide/memorize/treasure up my commandments with you, turning/applying/tuning your inner ear to be attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry/call out for Wisdom/insight/knowledge and raise your voice for (the grace to do His will and get) understanding, if you seek it/her like silver/gold/rubies or precious jewels and search for it/her as for hidden treasures, then (and only then) you will understand the fear/awe of the LORD and find the wisdom/knowledge of God.

My Child, if you seek it/her like silver and search for it/her as for hidden treasures,

I just put you on a mini search as you noticed the changes I added in the passage. Searching out a passage can start as simple as reading several different versions of the Bible or reading what scholars have written about a passage. Yet always remember, seeking wisdom is more than a mental trip.

Notice I added the word “her” next to the word “it”. Wisdom is described in some versions of scripture as a woman. Finding her is a treasure that is more valuable than silver. Proverbs 3:13-18 says this, “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.”

Father God is telling us the eternal value of seeking Him and His wisdom is better than anything here on earth! We spend so much time and energy on temporal activities all the while the most important pursuit in life, seeking God and His Wisdom, is left undone.

Have you ever taken the time and energy to do what this passage instructs us to do? Clearly we are to memorize, receive store/hide incline/turn… apply … call out cry aloud seek/look for search His word to open our earthly hearts to His Presence.  Let me ask you to prayerfully consider this process an opportunity to take the hand of wisdom as she endeavors to show you the King and His Kingdom.

Observation: The conjunction “and” joins all three of the ways listed to seek after God. The goal is to know Him. Wisdom, His wisdom, will guide us to Him.

Interpretation: God’s Wisdom is worth seeking. It is more precious than gold, silver and precious jewels. The process is being clearly laid out by Father God. The question is will we do the work to journey to know Him deeply?

Application Prayer: Father God thank you for sending Jesus for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Help us to see He is drawing us to a closer walk with Him through His word. May we humble ourselves to find the grace to follow Him. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

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Thanks for listening. I trust you remember that our daily meditative journey is a process of how to grow deeper in Christ. Later on you will be meditating on passages chosen by God and using these principles to allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart.

I hope you will pray for me and all the others that are on this journey. You may also want to send me comments, suggestions or questions. I promise I will respond to each inquiry.