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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, September 24, 2012

It Is Not Good


(Genesis 2:18 KJV) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 

Each time God created something in chapter one of Genesis He would always say, “It is good.” However, when we get to chapter two we hear Him saying, “It is not good.” God did not suggest that creating man was a bad idea; He was only suggesting that he needed a wife.

When God said, “It is not good,” He was saying it from a state of perfection and not from a state of condemnation. When man says something “is not good” he is speaking from a state of imperfection which is usually condemnatory.

As man goes through life learning how to improve himself, he needs to also learn how to show grace and give allowances to those on the same path. However, that is not always the case.

There seems to be two kinds of thinking on perfection. The first kind of thinking is that allowances should be given to the immature that are still mistake prone but are trying to improve themselves. The second kind of thinking is when no allowances are given and perfection is expected immediately. These folks call themselves perfectionists even though they themselves are not perfect.

I have a dear friend (who is not on this mailing list, thank God), that I have known for many years. In our long acquaintance I have never known this person to be satisfied with anything that anyone has ever done for her. I watched her and her husband hire contractors to finish out an office. The job should have taken two weeks, but it took a year and a half because she was never satisfied with the colors on the wall or the shape of a curved corner wall. I watched them remodel their home which should have taken no more than six months, but ended up taking a couple of years.

She would pick out the paint color for the walls, and when the contractor finished painting it she would say he changed the color to a different shade. I have a very good eye when it comes to colors and remodeling and I thought the contractor did a fantastic job, but she would never accept it.

I watched my friends do many projects over a fifteen year period. No contractor they had ever came close to breaking even on their jobs, but they would keep working anyway.

The fact is...there is no such thing as a true perfectionist. There are only folks who set the standard so high that it is unattainable for themselves or anyone else. The reason they set the standards so high is usually because they never felt they measured up as a child. Later on in life they unconsciously reflect their own inability to measure up by setting extremely high standards for themselves and others.

These are precious folks and I love them dearly, but they live life far below the standard of joy that God intended for them. This type of perfection belongs to God and Him alone. When man expects perfection of others God says, “It is not good.”

Father,
Our desire is to be more like You. We desire to improve everyday as we go through life, but we also want to show Your kind of grace for those who are also trying to improve. Help us not to expect a perfection in others that belongs only to You.
Amen

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Respecting Our Elderly


(Proverbs 30:11 KJV)There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. 

Over the years I have noticed that one way many children disrespect their ageing parents is by avoiding them as much as possible. When they are around them it seems as though it is more of a chore than a pleasure.

One reason for such behavior could be the result of doting parents, which usually means the children grow up without established boundaries or rules. When this happens, the Adamic nature in a child begins to develop on its own and the result is usually selfishness.

A selfish person only likes to think of themselves; therefore spending time with aged parents does not fit into their self-pleasure.

Another possible reason for such behavior is when a child is brought up in a home where one or both parents are driven by an angry religious spirit. This is the worst kind of home to be brought up in, because the child sees God through the same rose colored glasses as they see their parents. This usually means that the parents do not like themselves, so they take it out on the child, but then they put on their angelic smile when they are in church.

The result of the first example is why the child does not like to spend time with their elderly parents. The result of the second example is why the child does not like to spend time with God.

In either case it seems that when the “once strong parents” become weak and needy, they repel the very ones who were once magnetically drawn to them, such as their children.

However, I am happy to say that the above two examples are hopefully in the minority and not the majority. There is nothing more heartwarming than to see a child love and show respect for their aging parents or grandparents, even though sometimes it may be difficult.

It is easy to love and care for a little baby who is totally dependent on you. However, it is much harder to love and care for a “once strong independent hill- taker type person” who has grown old and weak and is as needy as a little baby. I realize that sometimes it is difficult for one to get their mind around such a change in a person’s life.

I personally enjoy learning practical lessons from those who set good examples. The best example of loving and caring for aging parents and grandparents was set by my dear friends, Dan and Gayle Haas. Dan and Gayle not only had their youngest daughter still living at home, but Gayle’s father and grandmother lived with them as well.

Typically, when someone else is in your home there is an obvious difference in the atmosphere, even though they all love each other and get along. However, this case was different. There was not a difference in the atmosphere and they all enjoyed themselves as one large complete family. Gayle’s father and grandmother never seemed to feel they were intruding...and the rest of the family did not act as if they were intruding either.

I intently watched and was amazed by the care and respect Dan and Gayle’s wonderful family showed to both her father and grandmother until they went home to be with the Lord.

This combined family actually reminded me of an old television show called the “Walton's.”  Even though Dan and Gayle had four generations living in their home at one time, they were committed to each other and bound by the God-kind of love.
I am always reminded of the way it should be done when I drive past a nursing home and realize that many of those old folks are basically forgotten and the children are waiting for them to die.

Father,
Help us not to respond as those in the first two examples by openly showing disrespect for our elderly loved ones. Help us to give them the love and peace as their life is coming to an end as they gave to us as our life and future was beginning. Father, we want to be just like You in sowing grace and love.
Amen

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Know-It-Alls

(Isaiah 14:13-13 KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 

Over the years I have met a few people who I considered to be real "know-it-all’s." I am not sure I ever thought about why they were that way until recently. While thinking about this the other day, I realized that there really was a "know-it-all" spirit and its origin was in heaven. Satan was the original "know-it-all" because as one of the three archangels, and certainly the most beautiful one of all, he considered himself to be equal with God.

In defense of the innocent I must say that not everyone who appears to be a "know-it-all" has a "know-it-all" spirit on them. Some folks just like to talk a lot and give their opinion , even if they have no real knowledge of the subject. They only want to be a part of the conversation and sound as intellectually qualified as possible in order to give their opinions.

Most of the time the root causes for such talkative "know-it-all" type people is insecurity. This type of insecurity often begins when one is a child. Talking a lot helps them to appear to know more than they really do.

On the other hand, one with a "know-it-all" spirit is quite the contrary...in as much as they are usually marked by "defiance."  They not only give their opinion, but they keep driving home their opinion until the other person yields to it. This is often done in a family between a husband and wife where one is able to take control of the mind of the other person and bend it to their own will. This type of "know-it-all" spirit is a form of witchcraft...which is exactly what Satan tries to do to each of us.
Even though both types of "know-it-all" people may look the same, there is a big difference between them. One may be annoying because they talk so much, but the other is dangerous because they are an agent of Satan.

The fact is, everyone is knowledgeable in their field of expertise, but they are usually not knowledgeable outside of their field of expertise. For example, one may be the best brain surgeon in the country, but t not know a thing about changing a flat tire. Therefore, for them to tell the service man how to change their tire would be ludicrous…but that is what a "know-it-all" type person would try to do.

I remember a pastor that had the most "know-it-all" spirit of control of anyone I had ever known. He started his ministry as a very loving, caring and humble pastor. However, over the years he developed a "know-it-all attitude" as his congregation submitted to him more and more. He eventually went a step farther and opened himself up to the "know-it-all" spirit of witchcraft control. When this happened, he began to bend his congregation’s mind, will, and emotions to his total control.

I was called on by one of the elders of the church who had not been totally manipulated by the pastor. He asked me to come and help them through this crisis. The pastor knew and trusted me so over the next year of regular ministry meetings we were able to deal with the root cause of such behavior. Over time he was healed and the church became as healthy as it once was.

Father,
Help us to listen more than we talk and to be perpetual learners. Help us not to be classified among the "know-it-all’s" and certainly not be one who yields to the "know-it-all" spirit where we are capable of bending the minds of others to our will.
Amen

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Uncle Fred


(Exodus 35:35 KJV) Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work. 

Wise people have always intrigued me, particularly those from whom wisdom flows so effortlessly. As a result, I have made a habit of studying their lives, words, and moves in order that I may learn as much as I can from them. I am sure my question is no different than that of many others, “How did they become so wise?”

There is a natural wisdom that is the result of living life and overcoming the challenges of it. This is particularly true when it comes to the older folks who have lived through the hard times of WWII and even many of the post war folks of the late 40s and early 50s. These folks seem to be full of natural wisdom. I personally love being around them even though I too lived through the hard times of the pre-war and post war days of WWII.

I can understand how some may have natural wisdom by just living life, but I am totally baffled by those who seem to have so much Godly wisdom. I am not talking about those who know and understand the Bible well. I am talking about those who seem to have supernatural wisdom that is far beyond their understanding of the Bible. Wisdom flows out of their mouths even in normal conversation.

My wife Karen and I continually pray that God will give me supernatural wisdom, because sometimes natural wisdom is  simply not sufficient.

As far as natural wisdom goes I remember a man who was a distant relative by marriage. We knew him as Uncle Fred. I am not sure where Uncle Fred came from, but I never met a man who had more home spun wisdom than he did. He also seemed to be capable of doing anything in the world, such as being a doctor, a builder, an inventor, an architect and sometimes I thought he could even fly a little bit if he put his mind to it. Over the years I have met a lot of "one of a kind" people, but Uncle Fred was at the top of the list.

Even though he was an old man, he was in absolutely perfect health. One day I asked him how he stayed in such good health and he told me what he believed to be his secret. I am not sure I believed his remedy, but it seemed to work for him.

Uncle Fred lived way out in the country in East Texas in a house that did not have electricity or running water. However, he did have a fine outhouse with two holes and a moon shaped cutout on either side. I am not sure what the second hole was for, but nevertheless Uncle Fred was a big thinker and he splurged a bit when building this outhouse.

He told me one of the reasons for his good health was he believed one’s body should be charged with a little bit of electricity every day. His way of doing that was to stand on a wet board out behind his house at night after he had finished throwing water on himself with a dipper so he could take a bath. (I suppose that is what you call an early East Texas shower). He would then stand on that wet board and place a wire under each foot that was connected to an old crank telephone box that lay on the edge of the back porch so he could reach it. As he turned the crank on the telephone box electricity would start going through his body and he said that kept his joints healthy. I tried it one time and I turned the crank too fast and I almost electrocuted myself. One may not agree with Uncle Fred’s health remedies, but he was an encyclopedia of the wisdom of life.

Father,
Thank You for putting such people as Uncle Fred in my life with so much natural wisdom. And thank You as well for those with spiritual wisdom. I too want to be a person of wisdom for the sake of those who are younger than me and need a father figure to learn from.
Amen

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