Tag Archives: Meditation

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?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

 

 

 

 

It is harder than we think!

Meditation Journey Day 14

Hi Friend,

I trust you have noticed each of the verbs of Proverbs 2:1-5 intensify as we move through the passage. “Receive store/hide incline/turn… apply … call out cry aloud seek/look for search” are all verbs that build a tribute to wisdom and understanding’s importance. Remember “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. Understanding is the doing of that wisdom.”

Do you wonder why God instructs us so intensely to seek Wisdom and Understanding? The answer is important for us to press on, but first please read the passage.

My son, if you receive my words and store up my commands within you, inclining your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for wisdom (insight) and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then (and only then) you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

My Child, if you will receive store/hide incline/turn… apply … call out cry aloud seek/look for search for wisdom and understanding,

The short answer for the intense verbs is: It is harder than we think to gain wisdom and understanding.

In Isaiah 55 God tells us something about ourselves that we must daily embrace to walk in continual humility, “…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This is important information because it reminds us we cannot live the Christian life without Him. (John 15:5) We cannot not be fruitful and glorify our Father without His Spirit freely flowing through us. Our hearts are naturally hard toward God and more obtuse to Him than we canBreaking up soil imagine. The Holy Spirit uses these verb “tools” to soften our hearts and break up the hard soil so His Word can grow fruit in us. This empowers us to walk in the Spirit and follow Jesus.

Many Christians begin following Christ by the Holy Spirit’s power, but they stop focusing on Jesus through His word. (Galatians 3:3) They stop gaining wisdom and understanding from the Spirit and the Word and begin to follow the religious rules of the people or organization around them.

These verbs: receive store/hide incline/turn… apply … call out cry aloud seek/look for search for are tools that the Spirit with the Word uses to open our hearts to fellowship in the Presence of God. Remember the goal and purpose of our journey is not just to gain spiritual knowledge or principles or even have an experience with God. The goal of following Jesus is to be with Him, to know Him, to become like Him and share the communion of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Apostle John captures this sweetly in the opening to his first letter: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us– that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And we are writing these things so that your joy may be complete.”

Friend, I am writing this to you because I so desire you to share the joy of The Lord. My joy in Jesus grows daily as I walk His ways and think His thoughts meditating on the beauty of the Lord. His Presence is too sweet to hoard!

Observation: We will gain Wisdom and Understanding by using the verbs tools: receive store/hide incline/turn… apply … call out cry aloud seek/look for search to open our earthly hearts to His Spirit and Word. (Please note there are many other verb “tools” that the Spirit will also use! These are just the ones in Proverbs 2:1-5)

Interpretation: The goal of this process and using these tools is to share the Eternal Life of God; to grow in our likeness to The Son and to glorify the Father. The joy that results from this fellowship with God will empower us to impact others with the love of Jesus too!

Application Prayer: Father, thank you for Your Word and the verb “tools” the Holy Spirit uses in our hearts to open the Word to us. Help us, Lord God, to diligently walk in Your ways, to receive Your thoughts and enter more fully into Your fellowship. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

Seeds of Wisdom

Meditation Journey Day 11

Hi Friend,

SeedlingToday’s meditation has been challenging to communicate. I pray that we all have ears to hear what God is asking of us. If we are to incline our ears (minds, hearts and souls) to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding, then we need to know what wisdom and understanding is from God’s perspective. Here is my conclusion:

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. Understanding is the doing of that wisdom. Living out wisdom reveals true understanding or the skill of godly living. Understanding is the practical application of the wisdom or insight of God. Wisdom and understanding are organically connected. Wisdom grows into understanding, and the fruit of understanding gains us wisdom.  We can believe or think we have godly wisdom, but if we do not live godly lives, we are deceived.

Now the question is to gain more wisdom?

First the passage…

My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you, turning (inclining) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for wisdom (insight) and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then (and only then) you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

My Child, if you …turn (incline) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

Yesterday we pondered the call to turn or incline the inner ears of our hearts to God by drawing close to Him. He wants us so close that we can feel His breath on our cheeks. Foundational to this metaphor is the humble little word of “humility”. God looks for that sweet attitude in our hearts so that He can give us wisdom and understanding. Verse six of Proverbs 2 reminds us “the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;” James writes in his letter, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.When we ask in humility for wisdom, God’s attitude toward us is always without criticism or blaming. He is never angry with us for having acted stupid or sinful. He will always give wisdom to us if we ask in faith by receiving His Word.

Now while the receiving of wisdom may be a word or message of pure truth which simply comes by God speaking to us; walking in understanding is intentional and much more difficult. His purpose in giving us wisdom, insight and knowledge of true reality is so that we will apply our hearts to understanding. Meaning we will do it. We will live out the truth so that we will know the truth. We will live out the word of wisdom so we can understand it, and we reveal our understanding by living it. Jesus appealed to this process when He instructed them, “If you continue to obey my teaching, you are truly my followers. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8

The seeds of Wisdom are carried to us by His word, which is why receiving His Word well is critical. Living WordThe memorizing or hiding it in our hearts allows the wisdom to grow to the point of action that bears the fruit of transformation. It is through our transformed behavior that others will see the reality of The Living God in us.

The Holy Spirit is calling us to lean into Jesus Christ through His Word so we can become like Him and reveal the beauty of God. I pray that you will continue walking with me on this journey as the elevation gets higher and the terrain becomes more difficult.

Observation: In each verse of this passage God is asking more of us. Action is required for us to move closer to God by inclining our hearts to wisdom and applying them to understanding.

Interpretation: This passage calls us to a deeper connection with God and His Word. Wisdom and understanding are two sides of the same coin. One impacts the other and both increase as we humble ourselves to God to do His will.

Application Prayer: Lord, help us to allow the Word to work in us so we move closer to You in obedience to Your word. May our hearts joyfully sense Your Presence as we journey closer, higher, and deeper into Your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

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Thanks for listening. 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.

Applying the Heart

Hi Friend,

How do we apply our heart to understanding? Remember we are call to “…apply your heart to understanding.” Knowing what “understanding” means helps us gain a handle on this process. In yesterday’s devotion we learned that “Understanding is the practical application of the wisdom or insight of God.” Now we need to define “heart”. In the Bible the word “heart” is the core of our being. It includes our mind, emotions, feelings, and will. It envelops our soul and spirit. It is the central command center through which the issues of life flow. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

Heart 1What our heart focuses on determines our direction and destiny! The passage tells us we need to take that focus/core of our lives and apply it to understanding. Ok, so how do we do that?

First the passage…

My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you, turning (inclining) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for wisdom (insight) and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then (and only then) you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

My Child, if you …turn (incline) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,

The key to applying our hearts to understanding is the word “applying”. spreadThe word “applying” means to spread or stretch out something over a surface. Now reflect on the word order of the verse: “applying your heart to understanding” not applying understanding to your heart!

That means we are called to stretch out our hearts (our thinking, feelings, and choices) to embrace and live out God’s wisdom.  We are the one to be changed, not God’s word or wisdom. As we walk in God’s word and wisdom we begin to gain understanding. To live and do God’s word will stretch us. Stretching or being spread out can be painful. Following Christ is often resisted because it requires us to alter our thinking. Repentance (the changing of our minds to God’s direction) is a common experience for someone who is applying their heart to understanding.

So how is your direction today? Are stretching out your heart to embrace and live out God’s wisdom.  Are you applying your heart to understanding?

Observation: Key words: “Understanding is the practical application of the wisdom or insight of God.” “Heart” is the core of our being. “Applying” means to spread or stretch out something over a surface. “Repentance” is the changing of our minds to follow God’s direction.

Interpretation: Repentance will be a continual component of following on this Journey into the Word. Our ways are not His ways. Remember we are being made into the Image of His Dear Son (Romans 8:29). That will require the enlarging and stretching of our hearts to become more like Jesus.

Application Prayer: Lord, help us to allow the Spirit and Word to work in us so we will have grace to be stretched and molded to become more Christ-like. Thank you for choosing us and taking time with us to be fit for heaven.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Meditation Journey Day 10

Ears to hear 1As I promised, today we will begin to unpack verse 2 ‘… turning (inclining) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,…” Our focus will be on our ears. The ear as referred to in this verse is not just the outer extension of flesh that sits on both sides of our heads. Our ears, designed and created by God, have the physical and mental capacity to received sounds and process information carried by the words we receive. Jesus often told His listeners, In Proverbs 2 God is telling us we need hearing ears to get the message from Him. His word is transforming but only as we receive it, store it and do it.

I love what Gods says about His word. It is God’s word from His mouth that makes the difference in our lives.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11”

To hear His word, we have to be intentional listeners that want to be close to Him. Are you ready to reflect on turning/inclining your ears to Him?

First the passage… (I hope you read this!)

My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you, turning (inclining) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for wisdom (insight) and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then (and only then) you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

My Child, if you …turn (incline) your ear to wisdom…

On first look this appears to be just an exercise of tilting the head towards the scripture. But God wants way more than a head nod from us. A deeper observation tells us there is much more being said. God is asking us to lean into Him and listen with our minds and hearts in order to hear His words, His tone and Wisdom. He is calling us closer to Him. Remember all scripture is God-breathe. God breathing into Adam the breath of lifeTo receive what He wants to give us requires us to be so close we can feel His breath. A beautiful picture is the image of God breathing into Adam the breath of life. (Genesis 2)  Another is the image of a Mother so close to her baby that the child’s cheek is warmed by her breath. When God says incline your ear unto My Wisdom He is calling you close to Him. Give me all your attention. Love me with all your heart, mind, soul and body.

Obviously the command to turn/incline our ear to wisdom means that our hearts are not fully bowed to Him. It reveals our need to continually recognize His absolute complete sovereignty and wisdom. We always have a choice to follow Jesus or not, but do not think following is a casual activity. It is an intentional hearing, listening and doing of God’s will.

Observation: Inclining our ears to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding is a continuation of receiving and storing His Word within us.

Interpretation: The Father is now expanding on what receiving and hiding His word will look like in our lives. If we want the fullness of His Spirit and the grace for transformation we will turn our full attention to His Voice and His Word.

Application Prayer: Father God, give us ears to hear. Forgive us for our lack of attentiveness to your Word and Spirit. Help us to enter the Joy of Your Presence as we yield to your Sovereign Wisdom. Thank you for calling us closer to You through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Teach us what it means to listen to Your Word and to hear Your Voice.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thanks for listening. 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 Engrafted Word

Meditation Journey Day 9

Hi Friend,

Tree Grafting 3Today we will begin to unpack verse two of Proverbs 2:1-5, but before we do I want to share with you some things I do to “hide” the Word in my heart.

My perspective towards the process is this: I know that it is the seed of God, and it has a life of its own. I trust the seed to do what God sent it to do (Isaiah 55:11), which is create in me the character of Christ (Romans 8:29). This is no small thought. One of the major changes in my life came as I realized I cannot do anything without Him unless I abide in the vine (John 15:5). It is His life; His power and His Spirit that I want to have its way in my life. I sincerely trust Him to grow His life in me just as I trust the seed I plant to grow and produce fruit in my garden. My focus is on Him (Hebrews 12:1-2) and His word not my mistakes, failings and sinfulness. I am not giving you religious speak or clichés. My life has changed and is changing as I abide in Him and His Word. That is why I am so convinced this process is the critical focus every disciple must embrace to be led daily by the Spirit and follow Christ.

First let’s read again the passage…………..

My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you, turning (inclining) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for wisdom (insight) and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then (and only then) you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

“My son, if you receive my words and store up (hide – memorize) my commands within you…”

When I choose to meditate on any passage, not just read or study it, I first need to store it in my mind. As I have learned, this is the first step to engraft/implant it into my soul (James 1:19-27). I Tree Grafting 1consider it “medicine” for my soul; therefore I take it regularly through the day just like I would a pill that a doctor prescribed. After all it is the GosPILL! (OK bad joke).

Here’s what I do: I type it out, I write it out, and I say it at least five times a day. I place it on
my mirror or refrigerator, and I listen to it on CD or iPod when I drive. I try to sing it, because every verse has a tone and rhythm. I copy the passage on half a page of paper, and on the other half of the paper, I make blank lines where I try to write it word for word or write a paraphrase of each verse. I read about the passage in commentaries or other online resources. My goal is to learn it and understand what it says. In the process I begin to memorize the passage.

Observation: Since God commands us to store/hide the Word in our hearts we need to ask Him to show us how to do it!

Interpretation: How we look at the Word will determine how earnest we will be at getting it into our minds and hearts. I know it is the way I get God’s life in me to release the Holy Spirit to transform my mind (Romans 12:1-2)

Application Prayer: Father God, give us insight into how we can store Your word in our minds/hearts. Give us grace to do it so that we can bear much fruit and glorify You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

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Thanks for listening. 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.

Ever Chew the Cud?

Meditation Journey Day 7

Sheep 1Hi Friend,

Verse one of Proverbs 2 says “My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you…” We have been chewing on this first verse for six days and we have much more to receive from it. I trust you are beginning to experience the joy of slowly pondering a selection of scripture. That is part of the Biblical meditative process. The word “meditation” in the Bible found in passages like Psalm 1 (But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night) means to “chew the cud”.

Sheep stomachAnimals that chew the cud, like cattle or sheep, have multiple stomachs. The cud is the previously eaten food that they are able to regurgitate into their mouths and chew again.  If they do not eat, regurgitate and chew again, the food is not fully digested and the complete nutrition is not received by the animal. This process requires the storing of the eaten food hence the need of multiple stomachs. Each time the animal chews the cud and re-swallows its food it is then passed into a deeper stomach and the process of digestion can be completed.

God describes us as sheep continually in the Bible. That is not just a sweet metaphor but spiritual insight for us to know ourselves. Sheep need a safe, calm, green pasture to lie down and chew the cud. We, as God’s sheep, need times in our day when we pause and rethink God’s word. If we do not receive the word properly (like a football player catching a pass) and do not rethink it again and again, like sheep chewing the cud, we will not obtain the complete nourishment God designed for us to get from His Word. Just like people who hurriedly eat on snack food become unhealthy; we also will not grow and become strong in our faith. Let’s see how God instructs us through this passage to eat right!

 Proverbs 2:1-5

My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you, turning (inclining) your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for wisdom (insight) and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then (and only then) you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

“My son, if you receive (accept/take) my words and store up (hide) my commands within you…”

The humble little word and” may be a mountain to climb for some of you, because it connects our receiving of God’s Word to our storing/hiding it within us. This is not a selective “and”. It is a connective “and” that means we must do both. We must receive His word properly and we must memorize it.

Memorization of a verse/passage is how we store or hide the word in us. I know some of you are wilting as you read this. The idea of memorizing anything is difficult. It was for me too. I falter also unless I see memorization of the word in the critical context of knowing Christ, following Him, being transformed and becoming fruitful.

We must remember God our Father, which we call Lord, Master and Savior is commanding us to do this. It is not an option for a disciple. Memorizing what the Master said is how all of the original disciples followed Jesus. They did not have a Bible to pick up to reread or an iPod to listen too. They were expected to memorize every word the Master, Jesus, spoke. Thank God we have Bibles and other recording devices, but God wants to speak to you daily to personally nourish your heart. This requires our chewing on the same words repeatedly!sheep 2

Observation: God is instructing us how to receive His word. It is not just listening to it or reading. He insists that we also store/hide it in us.

Interpretation: We are spiritual sheep. We must chew the cud if we are to grow and become obedient followers of Christ. This is how the people of the Book (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, all of the prophets and disciples) always learned and followed God. Do you want to actually follow Jesus? You must store His word in your mind/heart and learn to Biblically eat it. (If you abide in me and My words abide in you… Jesus, John 15:7)

Application Prayer: Father God, the call to memorize and store/hide the word in us is scary. Most of us think we have poor memories, yet you know us and encourage us to do this because of your Great Love for us. Help us to humble our minds and hearts to you. Give us faith to trust that you will do this in us as we chose to follow you. Amen.

What is your take away?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thanks for listening. 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.