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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, June 27, 2011

Believing a Lie

(2Thesslonians 2:11-12 KJV) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The thing that makes this scripture so interesting is that God would actually 'send a strong spirit of delusion' to someone. One may ask, "Why would God send such a spirit?" The fact is God will send to you whatever spirit that is compatible with your spirit.

The benefit of loving truth (the word), is life, health and joy. The result of not loving truth (the word), is delusion that leads to believing a lie which eventually ends in damnation.

Because there are so many false words floating around today, it is easy for one to believe a lie if they do not have a 'truth filter' (the Word of God), to filter out such words. Just because negative words may be spoken about one that does not mean they are from God.

I have a dear friend who spent much of her early years growing up in Africa as the child of a missionary. Perhaps it was because of that setting that she developed such a real love for animals and birds. When she grew up she married a man with the same love for animals and birds as she had. She and her husband pastor a fine church in Colorado. Because of their love for animals they usually have at least two dogs as well as canaries or parrots.

One day my friend had the opportunity to get a beautiful 'talking parrot' that had been raised by an old man. Apparently the old man was quite a character that used a lot of profanity. After years of living with the old man the parrot apparently learned all of his bad language and felt he had the freedom to use it anytime he wanted to.

One day my friend (the new owner of the parrot), needed to leave town for a while so she had another friend (who I know), come over and take care of her dogs and her new parrot. When this friend went to the cage to take care of the parrot the parrot cussed her out. She became so upset with the parrot that she cussed the parrot out. For the next few moments she and the parrot had a cussing contest. The parrot apparently won the contest because after it was all over the parrot felt refreshed while she needed inner healing.

She was quick to inform my friend as soon as she got home that she would never take care of that parrot again.

When one has such an experience they only have so many options. They can either choose not to believe anything that a 'talking parrot' says who was raised by a grouchy old man or they can have 'truth filters' to filter out all of their lies.

There is probably no greater picture on earth of Satan's work than to have his demonic parrots speaking lies to the children of God.

Father,

I thank You for the real life pictures such as this to remind us of how much we need Your 'truth filters' to keep us from believing the lies of the enemy. Help us Lord to be on the alert at all times of the traps of Satan that would rob us of our joy.

Amen

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Monday, June 20, 2011

You Cannot Run from God

(Luke 15:14-20 KJV) And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

There have been thousands of sermons preached on the subject of the Prodigal Son. With each sermon it is easy to become personally involved and begin picturing ourselves as one of its characters. We can imagine ourselves as the Prodigal Son, or the father, or even the older brother.

However, there is another character in this story that we never imagine ourselves as being and that is the pig farmer. We can imagine what one of the main characters thought, but we never imagine what the pig farmer might have thought when hiring this young Jewish man to feed his pigs. Was he happy because he hired cheap labor, or did he have thoughts of disgust because he saw the Mark of Greatness on a young man who was wasting his life and trying to run away from who he was created to be?

The fact is, there is a presence in each one of us that oftentimes reveals more about who we are than what we actually say. A presence, a look, an anointing, the way we carry ourselves and even the confidence we have...speaks volumes as to who we really are.

One day while driving in our downtown area I noticed a homeless woman covered with a blanket, sitting next to a building. Seeing homeless people in most downtown areas these days is not an uncommon scene. However, in this particular case this woman looked as completely out of place as the Prodigal Son must have looked feeding pigs.

She was not only pretty, but she looked as if she had the hand of God on her life. I was certain that she was trying to run away from God, but she was probably unaware that she could not escape His presence and love, no matter where she went or what she did.

In the few seconds that I looked at her as I drove by, it seemed that I prophetically knew all about her. I wanted to stop my car and jump out and run up to her and start shouting, "I know who you are. What are you doing here? Go home, you cannot run away and hide from God." However, I was in heavy traffic and there was no place to park, so I passed her by.

The fact is, one may lie to himself but God will show others who you 'really' are. He will show others your anointing and the call that He has on your life. One cannot escape the mark of God.

The Prodigal Son tried to hide his identity by working in a pig pen, but he did not fool anyone...not even the pig farmer.

I wonder how many folks who are reading this meditation are denying their spiritual identity and think that no one knows who they really are. They are trying to run away from God, but they cannot.

Father,

As the Prodigal Son came to himself, I pray by now that the woman on the street I saw covered with the blanket has also come to herself. Help each of us Lord to know who we are in You so we can unashamedly walk in our spiritual identity and anointing. Father I suppose all of us have a little bit of the spirit of the Prodigal Son in us, but help us Lord not to yield to the "Prodigal temptation."

Amen

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Hunger for the Word

(Matthew 5:6 KJV) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Is it possible to be hungry for a relationship with God without being hungry for the Word of God? I am sure this question will provoke a litany of quick responses. However, as I have thought about this question over the years...I have come to the conclusion that the answer is not necessarily a quick yes or no.

Over the years I have known folks that have walked very close to God and lived as much of a holy life as one could live, but spent very little time reading the Bible. On the other hand I have known folks that have spent hours a day reading the Bible, but seemed to have little personal relationship with God. This is not meant to imply that one cannot have both a hunger for the Word of God and a hunger for a relationship with God…but one does not necessarily equal the other.

Growing up in the 30s, 40s and 50s most hardworking folks would not even think about not having a Bible in their home. They found great comfort in being able to look at it on the table or hold it in church on Sunday. The word it contained was total truth, and provided promise, hope and healing for them even though they spent little to no time actually reading it. Knowing many of them as I did, I would never question their relationship with the Lord.

Perhaps that is also the way it was back in John Wesley's day. Once, while ministering in Bristol, England, after the morning service the pastor of the church told me he felt like he wanted to show me something. We got into his car and drove out to the edge of town. We stopped near a little hill where I noticed a beacon and a very small concrete slab up the hill from where we parked the car. He said, "Because your passion reminds me of John Wesley, I thought you might enjoy seeing where he preached when he was not allowed to preach in town anymore.

The people would come from everywhere in all kinds of weather to hear Wesley preach." My pastor friend also pointed out a river below and said, "Sometimes the people would even swim the river and sit in the rain because they were so hungry for the Word of God. The men, having worked all day, would often come directly from the coal mines with their faces still black with coal dust, and meet up with their families. They would sit on the ground for hours and listen to Wesley preach because they were so hungry for the Word of God."

I stood there on the little slab of concrete under the beacon, imagining what it must have looked like through the eyes of the Wesley brothers. I also said to the Lord, "Do it again, do it again and this time let me experience preaching to a people who are both hungry for knowing You and for knowing Your Word."

It has been a number of years since the day I was out on Wesley's hillside, but my life still remains under its influence.

Can one be hungry for a relationship with God and not necessarily be hungry to read the Word of God? You decide!

Father,

I hunger for that wonderful relationship with You. Only Your relationship can bring that inner peace to my heart in times of need, loneliness or trouble. I also have a deep desire to learn Your Word and store it in my heart in order to feed on Your promises each day. I thank You Lord that You alone know the hearts of men.

Amen

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Certain Women

(Luke 8:1-3 KJV) And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

There seems to be a primary and a secondary lesson for us to learn in all scripture. In the case of our text, one tends to focus on the primary "miracle training" of Jesus for His disciples, while missing the secondary "commitment training" that is required for doing those miracles.

Over the years I have studied this scripture many times, but paid little attention to the women who were following Jesus. Perhaps that was because Luke himself did not seem to pay much attention to them either. As a matter of fact, he only mentioned three of them by name and then grouped the rest together and referred to them as "certain women."

It was only recently while in Budapest, Hungary that the Lord began to show me the secondary lesson in our text. This lesson had to do with the commitment of those who were found in a group called "certain women." For whatever reason Luke identified them by their past sins and problems rather than by their new life in God.

While in Budapest I had the privilege of meeting some of the "certain women" group that Luke spoke of in our text. These women left their homes back in the States many years ago and followed Jesus to the mission fields of Eastern Europe. As a matter of fact the name of their ministry is "Certain Women Ministry."

While having coffee with a couple of them, the Lord began giving me a refresher course on commitment. Like the women in our text, these women were not motivated by such things as fame, the spotlight, and the bigness of ministry or their names flashing on someone's marquee. As a matter of fact there was nothing about them that would call one's attention to them. There was no halo over anyone's head, no flashing fire coming out of their hands, no shaking of the building as a result of their prophetic words...nothing like that. They could have easily passed for one's neighbor, or sister, or wife or perhaps someone's mother-nonetheless they were unmistakably marked by their commitment to follow Jesus.

I am not sure why the Lord felt it necessary to take me to the other side of the world to give me this bit of "field training" on commitment, but I am taking it seriously. Perhaps it is because He is going to send me to places in the future that are going to require an even deeper level of faith and commitment on my part...in order to get the job done.

I also believe the Lord is speaking to many who read this Meditation to take a refresher course on commitment themselves. One needs to be a ready candidate if they are to be sent to the front lines of ministry with an expectation of victory.

Father,

Thank you for making me a perpetual learner. Even though I do not fit into the category of "certain women," I do desire to fit into the category of "certain men." Like the women in our text, I do not find it necessary to be known by my name, but only by my commitment in following you.

Amen

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