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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, June 24, 2013

We Will Not Retreat

(Judges 7:7 KJV) And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. 

Through the years while reading the Bible I have enjoyed studying the type of men the Lord seems to always choose to do important things. All of these men seem to have three things in common. The first thing they have in common is their low self-esteem…such as Moses. The second thing they seem to have in common is their strong dependence on the guidance of the Lord…such as Elijah. The third thing they seem to have in common is their strict obedience to the voice of the Lord…such as Gideon.

Gideon was chosen by the Lord to lead the army of Israel into battle against the well-trained Midianites, who had been oppressing them for years. However, Gideon’s qualification for leading such an army was little more than threshing wheat in his father’s winepress…whatever that is worth. In spite of that, the angel of the Lord was sent to tell Gideon, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor”.

However, up until that point it did not seem that Gideon had actually done anything to indicate that he was a “mighty man of valor”. I find it interesting as well as comforting to know the Lord never sees us as we are, but as we were meant to be…and Gideon was meant to be a “mighty man of valor”.

The Lord set Gideon up for such an honor by reducing his army from thirty-two thousand men to three hundred men, that would go on to defeat the great army of the Midianites.

This is a good example of how God choses “the foolish things to confound the wise”.

The other day while traveling east of Houston, Texas I stopped at the San Jacinto Monument. This monument was erected on the battle field where General Sam Houston had defeated General Santa Anna from Mexico for the independence of Texas.

The likelihood of Sam Houston winning this battle was remote since Santa Anna had won every other battle up until then. He had defeated those at the Alamo, he had won the battle at Goliad, and now Santa Anna’s plans were to swat General Sam Houston’s small army at San Jacinto. This victory should stop these rebellious Texicans once and for all from any further idea of wanting to become an independent nation.

 General Sam Houston was so devoted to fighting and winning this war that he even had a nearby bridge burned, which left no way for either side to escape. His idea was that they would either win or die…but they would not retreat.

The arrogant General Santa Anna was so sure that the victory would be his that he and his men took a three o’clock siesta. While they slept, General Sam Houston and his men swooped down on them and defeated Santa Anna’s great army in only eighteen minutes…and with that Texas won its independence.

While at the San Jacinto monument that day I realized that all of our battles are ultimately won by the Lord. Perhaps our only part is to remain small in our own eyes as did Gideon and his army or to burn our bridge of retreat as did General Sam Houston.

Father,
Thank You for reminding us once again that it is “ Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts”.  (Zechariah 4:6)
Amen

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Live in the Vision

(Proverbs 29:18 KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. 

This is one of my most favorite scriptures in the entire Bible because it talks about vision. Vision has always been very important to me because it is the fuel that has kept me excited, alive, and moving forward. I thank the Lord for gifting me with the ability to envision things before they actually happen. There were times in my life when I had nothing else except vision…and that is why I cherish it.

It is amazing how one can preach on a scripture such as this for years and yet seem to only have a surface understanding of it. Recently, while reading this scripture again, I began to realize that in the past I had only seen in it what I needed to see at the time…but there is so much more. Even though I could quote this scripture backwards and forwards, I had only extracted from it what was relevant to me at that age of my spiritual growth.

However, after further examination of this scripture it does seem to be making two contrasting statements. The first statement has to do with what it takes to make one perish. The second statement has to do with what it takes to make one happy.

I had not realized until now how devastating it is for one who is not motivated by vision. That being the case, then vision is much more than just a dream exercise…it represents health itself. Food and exercise may keep one’s body healthy, but it takes vision to keep one’s spirit healthy.

What seemed to be a contrast in this scripture may not be as much of a contrast as I first thought. The ‘b’ part of this scripture actually talks about happiness being the result of keeping the law. However, the law this scripture speaks of is not the moral law (because no man can perfectly keep that law), it is talking about the law of faith (the Gospel). Therefore, happiness is the result of valuing and esteeming the law of faith with meekness, which in turn can result in salvation. Salvation and eternal life should produce happiness and happiness should produce vision, health, and a long productive life.
I happen to be one of those people who actually live in the vision every waking moment. Even when I wake up at night to go to the bathroom…I use those few minutes to actually walk through things that I need to before they ever occur. By doing that …when the time comes for me to actually walk through those experiences I am already familiar with each of the steps.

Since I am blessed with the ability to immediately go back to sleep (after the bathroom trip) I do not waste my time by remaining awake or lose my rest time because of insomnia.

When Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac…the servant found Rebekah. As they rode for days on the backs of camels returning home, the servant continued to tell Rebekah all about Isaac. By the time they actually arrived home she knew Isaac without even having seen him…because she had envisioned him.

Father,
Thank You for giving me one of the most precious gifts of all…the ability to envision. Lord, help those who have lost their way as a result of losing their vision. Restore to them what man or life has stolen from them…and that is the ability to envision...because, “Where there is no vision, the people perish...”

Amen

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Is Talking Out Of Style?

(Ecclesiastes 3:7 KJV) A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 

When our text says that there is “a time to keep silence” it is not insinuating that talking should be replaced. It simply means that there should be a balance between talking and listening. The reason for silence is because through silence (or listening) we learn…and then by meditating on what we have learned it becomes established.

The fact is there is nothing quite as fruitful as meditating on the Word of God. Such fruit bearing times not only allow one to receive fresh revelation for the moment, but it also allows one to re-enjoy the blessings of the past.

Our text also says there is a time to speak. That means if one does not speak of their relationship with Christ and give Him praise and glory, then surely the rocks would cry out.

With that thought in mind, I must say that there are several things about the younger generation that bother me. By saying that, I do not mean to insinuate that my generation was any better and that it should be held up as an example. I merely want to point out a potential cause for alarm in this present generation.

There are so many wonderful young people in the world today. However, there are many other young people who simply want to ‘dumb out’ and not even communicate with their parents or anyone else. The way they do that seems simple and harmless…but is it?

I saw a good example of this last week when my family and I were on vacation in Hawaii. One night we went to a luau and met and had dinner with a great family from Alabama. This couple had two boys who were eleven and fourteen years of age.

The eleven year old was engaged in and enjoyed our conversation as well as enjoying the events of the evening. However, the fourteen year old sat there all evening with ear buds in his ears and never looked up. He chose not to talk, listen or make eye contact.

I am sad to say that over the years I have met a few people that were born deaf and dumb. However, it saddened me tremendously to see one who was not born deaf and dumb choose to live as if they were. What could possibly have happened in a young person’s life that was so bad it would cause him to want to zone out like that?

Another thing that alarms me is when one chooses an alternative for talking. I realize that anything good can be taken to an extreme and particularly by those who are prone to live an undisciplined lifestyle.

For example, texting is a great tool, but when it is taken to an extreme it can eliminate needed conversation.

Texting is a low level way of communicating because one only gets the bare minimum of the intent of the word. There is what I call a two level communication that can only be accomplished by talking face to face with a person. The word in a text may give a measure of meaning, but it takes the spirit of the person face to face to give full meaning, life and power to that word.

The point is we should all seek proper balance in every area of our lives.

Father,
Thank You for reminding us of potential extremes and ways to avoid them by meditating on Scripture such as our text. Is it possible that we see some of our own ugliness and imbalance through some of the young people of this generation? We ask for Your patience Lord as we grow in You.

Amen

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Mind-Mud

(Jeremiah 17:14 KJV) Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

From time to time a person usually needs healing in some area of their life. One area may be physical healing, another area may be the healing of their memories and yet another area may be the healing from fatigue.

When it comes to healing physical fatigue…rest is usually the answer. However, when it comes to healing mental fatigue rest may help, but ultimately it is going to take the supernatural.

Perhaps this is what Paul was talking about in Romans 12:2 when he spoke of the renewing of the mind.

“...be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The only way one’s mind can be renewed is by cleaning out all the natural things that have caused the blockage to begin with…and that takes the supernatural.

Mental fatigue is usually the result of one’s mind slowing down and not keeping up with its potential. A good example of this is when a car gets stuck in the mud…the motor keeps racing and the tires keep spinning, but the car does not move forward. In this case the idea is to get the car out of the mud so it can function to its full potential.

The mind works the same way. When one feels bogged down (or they have mental fatigue) renewing the mind is the process used to get out of the ‘mind mud’.

Paul seems to imply that the reason we get into ‘mind-mud’ is because we “conform to this world’s” way of doing things. In other words when a Christian tries to do spiritual things in a natural way then Paul calls that, “conforming to this world”.

I suppose from time to time all of us have the potential of falling into this trap…otherwise Paul would not have addressed it. Perhaps the reason Paul addressed this issue is because he too had experienced the ‘mind-mud’ potential.

I was certainly not aware that I was on the edge of ‘mind-mud’ until a few days ago when I was driving through the open plains of Texas. All of a sudden I began to realize that my mind was being renewed by the Lord. My focus had been on so many other things that I was unaware of my own personal need.

However, when I unknowingly put myself in a position (the open plains of Texas) where the Lord could personally minister to me…He did, and healing was the result.

The point I want to make is…our dedication to Him is important, but His dedication to us is healing. When we understand that principle, it should help keep us out of ‘mind-mud’.

Father,
Thank You for protecting us and healing us even when we are not aware of our need. Lord we also want to emulate You as a father and meet the needs of others without them always having to ask. Lord I am so blessed to know that my care is a high priority to You…and that makes me love You even more.

Amen

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