Meditations by John Dean

Monday, April 30, 2012

Living Above the Snake Line

 (Act 28:3 KJV) And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

This scripture is not meant to just fill a page in the Bible, it is meant to show us a very important principle.

Just because Paul was spiritually sensitive in some areas of his life that did not mean that he was spiritually sensitive in all areas of his life. As we see in our text, when he picked up a bundle of sticks to put on the fire, he was totally unaware of the snake that was hiding in that bundle of sticks. He only became aware of the snake when the heat of the fire stirred up the snake and it bit him on the hand. This shows us that he was not necessarily sensitive to everything that was dangerous.

The second part of the principle is this...just because Paul was not sensitive to the danger of the snake that did not mean that he did not live in a state of anointing. This was proven when the snake bit him and yet it did him no harm. It was the anointing on Paul that made the difference. This proves that one’s anointing is not the same thing as one’s sensitivity.

Once while in Colorado Springs I rode the cogwheel train up to Pikes Peak. As we chugged along, the temperature began to change and the trees began getting shorter. The conductor came over the loud speaker and said, “Folks, we are now above the snake line.” In other words snakes did not live at that altitude…they like warmer climate.

Over the years I have thought about the comment the cogwheel conductor made and I have come to the conclusion that there is a spiritual principle in his statement. And that is, each of us can live in a spiritual place in God that is also above the spiritual snake line.
Jesus lived above the spiritual snake line and therefore no harm could come to Him. When there were those who wanted to harm Him, He passed through the crowd unnoticed. When the storms came up on the sea he walked on the water. When there was a need for tax money He told Peter that he could find the money in the fish’s mouth. Even when the soldiers came to capture Him and to ultimately crucify Him, they could do nothing until He chose to yield Himself to them.

Could all of this mean that we have spent most of our lives living below the snake line, when in fact we could have been living above the snake line? If that is the case then I have decided that I am going back and learn from my cogwheel experience and reevaluate where I have been spending most of my time. I suggest that all of us stop and ponder this possibility and then go up our spiritual mountain.

Help us to enjoy all of the benefits of our salvation. Teach us how to live—like Jesus did—in that heavenly place as an overcomer while here on earth. Help us to understand that there really is a spiritual place called “living above the snake line.”

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Monday, April 23, 2012

What Is In a Name

(Isaiah 9:6 KJV) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Names are so powerful and are often descriptive of the personality of the one to whom they belong. One’s name seems to be more than just a way of introduction. Their name is often a way of telling a short story about that person. As a matter of fact, without realizing it, when one hears the name of a person, a picture of that person automatically begins to form in their mind.

Sometimes hearing a person’s name will bring joy. At other times that name could bring fear. For example...the name Billy Graham paints one picture in our mind, but the name Charles Manson paints a different picture in our mind. The reason these names paint different pictures is because we know the personality behind them. However, even if one did not know the personality behind a name, a picture would still begin to form when hearing it.

For example, what picture would begin forming in your mind if you heard the name Bob, Betty, Shirley or John? Think about these names and say each of them very slowly and allow a picture to begin forming in your mind. When you do this exercise you will find the outcome to be very interesting.

All of the names in our text are certainly important, but the name that seems to warm my heart the most is the name “Prince of Peace.”  When I hear that name something begins to happen on the inside of me.

There is another name that causes something to happen on the inside of me as well. That name is “Daddy.” When one of my three daughters calls me “Daddy,” I not only feel warm on the inside, but for some reason the cares of the day seem to vanish a bit. “Daddy” has to be one of the most enduring tender names in the entire world...particularly when it is spoken by one’s daughter.

My son likes to call me “Dad” and that causes a different feeling and reaction. When I hear him say “Dad” I feel strong and capable of leaping over tall building in a single bound, just like Superman.
In other words, when my daughter calls me “Daddy” I am ready to surrender all, but when my son calls me ”Dad” I am ready to conquer all.

The wonderful names noted in our text mean: our Miracle Worker, our Counselor and our Champion—makes us feel secure with the knowledge that everything is going to be alright.

I am not sure why, but over the years I find myself having a higher expectation of people with certain names. There is probably no scientific or spiritual basis for such an expectation, but I seem to do it anyway. As far as I know I am not intentionally judging people by their name.

Among the many names that I have a high expectation of is the name John, which is my name. However, I do not think that my expectation comes as a result of John being my name, but because it seems to be a name that one should expect more from. My expectation for a person seems to vary a little depending on their name.

I encourage everyone who studies the Bible to also study the meaning of the names they read in the Bible because there is a message in each one of them. I think it is also interesting that God told several parents in the Bible what to name their children because their names are very important.

Thank you for teaching us how important our names are and how important it is to give our children names with significant meaning. Lord I thank You for your love, and that you know each of us by name.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weight or Illumination

(Matthew 11:28-30 KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I love this scripture because it has the feeling of a father taking a child in his arms and cuddling that child. It develops a security in one that says that everything is going to be alright.

I suppose at one time or another everyone has felt that their particular yoke or burden is a bit heavier that the next person. However, when we look real close, we see clearly that there are many who bear a heavier burden in life than we do. That does not mean that our particular burden is not heavy, but it does mean that the Lord wants to lighten our load by offering His yoke to us.

There are many aspects of our text that catch my attention, but there is one particular aspect that really catches my attention. When the Lord said, “...My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” my mind immediately focused on the word “light.” I believe the word “light” could have two meanings. It can mean light as in weight or it can mean light as in illumination.

I believe it refers to both weight and illumination. It refers to weight because Jesus is sharing the load with us, and that makes our load lighter. It also refers to illumination because according to John 1:4 and following, Jesus is the Light. The weight interpretation speaks of the natural, whereas the illumination interpretation speaks of the spiritual.

It is important for us to understand that there is a big difference between a real burden and a perceived burden. Many people today believe they are carrying a burden when in fact they only have a discomfort. For example, a real burden is a single mom trying to raise her children with no money. A real burden could even be an elderly person who has lost their home and has no place to live.

Growing up on the farm in East Texas in the late 40’s, I perceived many things as burdens when in fact they were not. I perceived that working hard in the heat all day long was a burden, but it was only a discomfort.

Looking back at living in houses with no air conditioning may cause one to think they were really carrying a burden. However, that was not the case at all because that was just a way of life in those days and no one knew any different. All the houses were built with a lot of large windows with screens for ventilation. The windows were for letting the air in and the screens were to keep the bugs out.

I remember after a long hard day of work on the farm I would come in and eat supper and go to bed. There was nothing quite like being all sprawled out on my bed at night, waiting for a breeze to come in through my open window.

As I look back at my situation of working hard all day in the heat and waiting for a little breeze to come in through the window at was really not a was only perceived as a burden. The point is, regardless if one’s burden is real or perceived; the Lord wants to make our load lighter in weight as well as lighter in illumination.

Thank you for the revelation of this scripture as well as Your desire to comfort each of us regardless of the severity of our need. Help us Lord to be to others as You have always been to us. Our desire is to make the yoke of others lighter both in weight and in illumination of Your great love.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

My Longest Golf Shot

(Philippians 4:13 KJV) I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me.
Our text has to be one of the strongest statements one can possibly make. The thought of one being able to do all things through Christ certainly leaves no room for doubting or feeling incapable. Any doubt that may occur is strictly self-promoted, which leaves Christ’s ability in us completely out of the equation.

Those who have a measure of understanding of our text and practice it daily seem to live a much happier and healthier life. Those who do not have an understanding of our text and do not practice it daily seem to always be in need and live a less healthy and happy life.

I suppose it is the “all things” in our text that occasionally boggles my mind when I think of all the possibilities I have in Christ. However, I must admit I do tend to wrestle with this issue at times, wondering if selfishness is ever a driving force behind such freedom.

The reason I say that is because one time when I was in Colorado I drove to the top of a well known mountain and did something completely unplanned. As soon as I got to the top of the mountain, I parked my car, opened the trunk and grabbed a golf club and ball…I set the ball on a tee and hit it as hard as I could. Because of the thin air…as far as I know the golf ball could still be going.

Even though I have played golf for years, I have never been able to hit the ball long. However, when I hit the ball that day it seemed to go so far that it just faded out of sight without me seeing where it hit the ground. When I finished hitting the ball that day I proudly put my golf club back in the trunk of my car and drove back down the mountain. I wonder if this was one of those selfish things in the “all things” that had nothing to do with God, but had everything to do with me?
I have thought about that golf shot many times over the years and have come to a conclusion. The reason the golf shot was so successful was because I was high enough to take some of the natural pull of gravity out of the equation.

The spiritual lesson is...if we want to make the best of our walk with the Lord then we also need to get higher in Him. This will eliminate much of the gravity of the world and we will reach our top potential. I believe this is the “all things” spoken of in our text.

It is our desire to not only reach the mountain top, but also to walk in that place where the gravity of the world does not draw us. Help us Lord to be an “all things” person.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Locked in a Season

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 KJV) For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; ...

Because life is made up of consecutive seasons, most folks have at least a surface understanding of what this scripture means. A season is a short period of time in one’s life that will eventually end and become only a memory. It is not uncommon for one to look back on a special season of their life and wish they could relive it. Then there are other folks who would not want to go back and relive a minute of any of their past seasons.

Each season is important because it has the necessary lessons to prepare us for the challenges of our upcoming season. Because some lessons are harder to learn than others, it is always a blessing if the season is short so we can learn that lesson and move on.

When we are locked into a season and cannot move, it means that our mental growth is stunted in some way.

Sometimes it is easy to tell when a person is locked in a past season. When an older woman still wears her hair the same way she did in her glory days in school, it is because she cannot grow out of that season. When an older man still dresses the same way he did when he was in his glory days in school, it is because he is also incapable of growing out of that season.

What I seem to notice more than anything else these days is when a parent refuses to allow their children to grow out of their baby season. It is natural for every loving parent to remember each detail of the first years of their babies. However, when a parent refuses to leave the baby season and move on, then they could possibly rob that child of the nurturing that is needed for its further development.

Over the years I have observed several parents who did not seem capable of turning loose of their child’s baby season, even when the child was grown. This type of behavior seems to be more prevalent with mothers than with fathers. However, I have also seen fathers with the same behavior.

I knew a father who would hold his grown child in his lap at night and rock him back and forth as if he was a baby. Neither the father nor the son seemed to be embarrassed, even though the son was almost as big as the father.

The fact is, our past seasons must die and take their place as a treasure in our memory bank so we can embrace the upcoming season. Holding a grown son may have brought some sort of pleasure to this father, but it does nothing for building the maturity that is needed as the son moves on in life.

I suppose my own experience would be the opposite of the story I just told since I do not recall ever being held or affirmed. Neither of these extreme are preferred. However, I believe my experience prepared me more for the challenges of life for which I am eternally thankful.

Help us to embrace the times and seasons with great expectation so that each will produce its own benefits. Our desire is to mature and gain wisdom with each day in each season. Lord, help us not to get stuck in a time period because we feel that we will lose something by moving on.

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