Meditations by John Dean

Monday, March 26, 2012


(Pro 29:23 ASV) A man's pride shall bring him low; But he that is of a lowly spirit shall obtain honor.

I have honored a lot of people over the years; however I am not sure that I actually thought about why. It seemed to be the right thing to do at the I did it. I do believe it is more important for one to honor others because it is the right thing to do, rather than needing to have a good reason for doing it.

As I began to wonder why I honor people, I suppose the reasons fell into one of the following three categories;

Perhaps we honor someone because of their position; such as president, mayor, or doctor. Another reason for honoring someone could be because of their good character. Yet another reason for giving honor may be because of a person’s age.

It is obvious that the above people should be given honor, but what about the quiet hard working person that is rarely noticed? Even if one is not an important city official, or their character is not obvious, or they are not aged and have silver hair—should they be overlooked? Should we honor a person because it is the right thing to do or should they have to earn it in some special way?

According to the “b” part of our text...perhaps that person should receive the highest honor of all. As a matter of fact, maybe we should reevaluate our entire honor system and broaden it to start off with those in the “b” part of our text.

You might find the following story a bit hard to relate to with a subject as important as honor, but because it paints a picture to me personally, I will use it.

A few years ago I went deer hunting at my brother-in-law’s ranch. I got up early in the morning and had only walked about a hundred yards from the ranch house when I spotted an antlerless buck, so I shot him. Within minutes I saw a spike buck (a buck with only one horn sticking up on either side of his head), so I shot him. I immediately looked down over a cleft and at the bottom stood a beautiful eight point buck so I shot him.

I walked back to the ranch house, got in the jeep and drove around and picked up all three deer. When I got back to the ranch house I laid them out on the ground side by side.

While looking at the three deer on the ground, I began thinking about our text. It was obvious to me who deserved the greatest honor of the three deer…the beautiful eight point buck. The spike and the antlerless buck did not deserve any honor at all…they were only meat.

Perhaps that is the way an ordinary hard working man feels when he is seen by others in the way that I looked at the spike and antlerless buck…nothing more than just meat.

In the eyes of many, the hard working sheep herder, Moses, had done nothing worthy of honor. However, because of the way that God saw Moses, he would go down in history as an example to all humble men who draw no attention to themselves. That being the case, then maybe there is a slight difference between those who deserve our respect and those who deserve our honor.

We desire to respect and show honor to those deserving of it. Help us to especially recognize the hard working Moses type, who does nothing to draw attention to themselves, but deserve both our honor and respect none the less.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Imagined Truth

I am amazed how things are not always as they appear. Even though the servant of Elisha had great natural vision, he seemed to be lacking in spiritual vision. Elisha on the other hand had great spiritual vision and therefore he was not moved by the negative things that are often seen through natural eyes.

The army that the servant saw with his natural eyes was no doubt real and apparently he thought it had the ability to capture them. As a result of what he saw with his natural eyes…fear gripped his heart and seemed to paralyze him from any hope of escaping. Consequently, he was already captured because he surrendered in his heart to the enemy, without even putting up a fight.

As a result of Elisha’s spiritual vision he saw this whole thing differently. Therefore he prayed a simple prayer for his servant...that his eyes would be opened, “Lord open his eyes that he may see.” Once the servant’s spiritual eyes were opened, he saw clearly that the spiritual army of God surrounding them was greater than the natural army he feared.

The question is…are things always as they appear to be? I do not think so.

I was once invited by a friend to go frog gigging one night in East Texas. His land had an old marshy pond on it that was filled with large frogs. I was unfamiliar with this large marshy pond, but I was excited to go on this little adventure. Plus I enjoyed eating frog legs.

As soon as we arrived on his farm that night we grabbed our frog gigging poles, adjusted our head lights on our heads, got in the boat and off we went around the pond. We were having the time of our lives spotting frogs with our head lights and gigging them.

A frog gig is a long pole with a clamping device on one end so one could reach out and clamp the frog and bring him back into the boat. When a frog has the light in his eyes he cannot see you, so he is easily gigged. One could tell how big the frog was by how far apart his eyes were. The eyes of the frogs we were after were about two inches apart.

After about an hour of frog gigging, we rounded a corner of the marsh and I spotlighted a pair of eyes that were about ten inches apart. I thought, My goodness. What in the world is that? Is it a monster from the black lagoon, is it Bigfoot, is it the frog god that has come to avenge this boat load of innocent frogs or maybe it is the Loch Ness Monster right here in East Texas.

As we slowly eased up a little closer, we saw that our monster was only a horse standing in the middle of the pond.

The point is...things are not always as they appear to be. In both cases; that of my friend and me, as well as that of the servant of Elisha—what we thought we saw was incomplete and therefore our brains registered “imagined truth” rather than “real truth.”

Help us to always see through faith-filled eyes with pure sight like Elisha did. Help us Lord to mature from always seeing through the natural eyes like the servant did. We don’t want a mixture of partial truth and imagination.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

She Knew My Voice

(1Samuel 26:17 KJV) And Saul knew David's voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king.

Even though Saul intended to kill David, his anger seemed to diminish when he actually heard David’s voice. There is something about one’s voice that can either provoke another to anger or disarm them. As a result of David speaking to Saul with love and respect, Saul’s anger lost the fuel it needed to keep it burning.

When hearing someone’s voice, a picture begins to form in the listener’s mind; a picture of the history of the one speaking, as well as what they are presently wanting. This picture is formed subconsciously by the brain.

Without realizing it, one’s mind associates sounds and pictures together. For example, a mother may hear the cry of her child and sense what her child needs, even though the child may be in another room with many other children.

When my wife was pregnant with my youngest daughter and the baby would start kicking I would lay my hands on my wife’s stomach and speak to the baby. I would say, “Now, now...let’s be still,” or “Let’s be at peace.” As a result, my unborn daughter learned my voice and she would stop kicking.

When our baby was born, after the nurse wrapped her in a little blanket she was screaming at the top of her voice. I said to the nurse, “Let me have her.” As soon as I took my daughter and said to her, “Now, now...let’s be at peace,” she immediately stopped crying because she recognized my voice.

Even when we were in church and our baby daughter would start crying—as soon as she heard my voice she would stop crying. The sound of my voice seemed to have a supernatural calming effect on her, even to this day. Through the years my daughter has not only remained extremely sensitive to my voice, but she is also extremely sensitive to the Lord’s voice as well.

There is a communication in one’s voice that goes beyond the actual sound of it. David seemed to communicate to Saul on two levels. His words spoke something to Saul’s reasoning ability, but the sound of David’s voice also communicated something to Saul’s spirit.

We see this duality of communication all the time without realizing what is actually going on. There is an old saying, “I heard what you said, but that is not what you meant.”  In this case, what one did not say is louder than what they did say.

Our desire is to walk and communicate with You in such a way that our outward (or vocal) communication matches our inward communication. We want to immediately recognize Your voice in order that we may communicate to others by the same pure spirit.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Run to Win

(1Corinthians 9:24 KJV) Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 

In my early Christian life I did not understand the true meaning of this verse.
I was apparently confused because I was under the impression that a
Christian was supposed to defer to his fellow man in all things. After all,
Matthew 5:41 in the ASV says, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go
one mile, go with him two.” I did everything I could to fulfill this verse
according to my understanding.

I thought for one not to be generous in this regard was revealing of his selfish
heart and soulish nature and I did not want to be like that. On the other hand,
I thought that by deferring to one’s fellow man in all things, this was a sure
sign of holiness…and I did want to be like that!

Looking back, I am not sure where I got such a ridiculous understanding of these very freeing scriptures…probably out of my own imagination.

There is nothing wrong with deferring to one’s fellow man, as long as it is kept in the context of the Scripture. In my case I was aiming for holiness, but I was hitting self-righteousness.

Everyone should try to be righteous in character but it helps to understand what that really means.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” In other words, if you do not intend to win the race, then you should never enter the race.

I am still somewhat embarrassed by the story that I am about to tell, but perhaps by telling it someone else may be set free.

When I was a young teenager I was on the tract team of our little country school. I loved to run as most country boys do, and I was reasonably fast.

One day the coach loaded all of the track team boys into our old raggedy worn out yellow school bus and headed for a track meet at a nearby school. Soon after we arrived, my team was on the field ready to win the relay race with the fastest country boys around. My role was to pass the baton off to the boy who would bring it in and win the race.

We started the race and when I got the baton I was running ahead of my opponent but I looked back to see where he was and saw that he was struggling to run. Without even thinking my compassion got the best of me and I instinctively slowed down and moved over so he could pass. By the time I realized what I had done it was too late and we lost the race.

As a result of being distracted for one split second by getting my eyes off the goal I caused my entire team to suffer defeat. Compassion is certainly an admirable quality but in my case the prize was not worth the price. My team had to pay the full price for my misplaced compassion.
I learned a lesson that day that has served me well for all the years. I learned that every decision one makes either has a direct or indirect effect on others. No one is an island unto themselves.

Help us to enter and win the races that count in this life. We desire to defer to our fellow man, but not at the cost of others having to pay our price. We want to be balanced in our thinking and generosity.

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