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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, July 29, 2013

Not What I Remembered

(Isaiah 43:18 KJV) Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 

It seems as though the older one becomes, the greater their need to relive their past. When I was much younger I used to think that the reason older folks were always reliving their past was because their present life was dull, cheerless and un-adventuresome.

However, now that I am older I have come to the conclusion that my evaluation of older folks was inaccurate. Even though there may be a measure of truth in what I thought…making such a blanket statement was truly unfair.

Perhaps they know something about enjoying the full measure of life (which includes the past), that we do not know. As a young man I did not have a past to enjoy so therefore I was only able to enjoy the present. As I grew older and learned how to dream I was able to add my future dreams to my present which broadened my enjoyment. As I aged I was then able to add my past, my present and my future dreams together for a fuller enjoyment. In other words my past (my memories), acted as a rudder on my boat (my present), that helped guide me to my future (my dreams), more accurately.

There are some things that simply cannot be taught…they have to be lived by growing older and hopefully gaining wisdom. Perhaps the vision of the old folks is much broader than we think.

Remembering and enjoying one’s past is not a bad thing, but to try to relive one’s past could prove to be disappointing. In other words, the past is supposed to be enjoyed through memory and not by trying to recreate it. When one tries to recreate their past they are often so disappointed with the results that they even lose the pleasure of remembering that particular event.

The fact is...you can never go back…it is over…it has even lost its luster…the romance of it is gone.  One’s only option is to enjoy the past through memory.

My wife and I went back to a special place of memory recently and the disappointment of it knew no bounds. I was aware that one could not relive the past, but I suppose I thought that certain elements of the experience could still be enjoyed…but that was not the case.

Perhaps this is all in the plan of God to keep us moving forward into the promises, pleasures and adventure of the future. After all, the Bible does say, “…the half has not been told.”  The experience of the future will also prove to be much more “age appropriate” than trying to relive the young romantic days of the past.

It is one thing to have a rearview mirror on one’s life, (to enjoy the memories of the past) and another thing to have a reverse gear so one can back up. Perhaps we should keep the rearview mirror and get rid of the reverse gear.

Father,
Thank You for allowing us to enjoy and benefit from the past. Help us to learn from its failures and be encouraged by its pleasures and help both of them to push us onward with confidence into the future that is prepared for us.

Amen

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Monday, July 22, 2013

God Blessed Eyes

(Matthew 13:16 The Message) But you have God-blessed eyes—eyes that see! And God-blessed ears—ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance.

I love The Message because it has a way of saying things that even a child can understand. I particularly enjoy reading our text in The Message because it actually talks about one having “God-blessed eyes.”

I must confess that up until now I never really thought about one person’s eyes being any different than another person’s eyes. However, as a result of reading this scripture I am beginning to understand there really is a difference in eyes. What one person sees through “God-blessed eyes” could be quite different than what another person sees through natural eyes.

With that in mind I began to reflect back over relationships of the past and the way I had remembered them seeing things. I recalled how easy it was for some to miss things that seemed obvious to others. Their explanation was...they were honest and only wanted to see the facts (truth), without any embellishment.

This person is a facts-driven person and their motivational gift is usually teacher. They are often so busy seeking and establishing what they believe to be the truth on a subject that they might even fail to enjoy the smaller pleasures. Even though they may be personally spiritual…in cases like these they tend to only see through natural eyes.

Other folks seem to see everything that is around them. They not only see things as they are (the facts), but they also see things as they are supposed to be...by faith. In other words, this person’s facts are actually ‘faith facts’ which are based on the Word of God and not just a partial perception of natural things as one could discover in the teacher’s perception.

In addition to their ‘faith facts’ they also notice others things; like the budding of a tree, the wild flowers along the road or even a small bird sitting on a fence post. This person obviously has “God blessed eyes” and the motivational gift for such a person is usually prophet.

One day while driving down the highway in Maryland, enjoying the beautiful soft rolling hills…my friend and I decided to stop at a state park near his home and walk around the small lake. It happened to be the fall of the year, the weather was perfect and the leaves were absolutely gorgeous.

I recall a light breeze blowing through the leaves of the trees that day and how that created a beautiful ‘woods orchestra’ sound. Adding accent to that sound was an occasional squirrel scampering through the leaves on the ground going from tree to tree. I was also aware of a myriad of other woods-sounds that day. They were absolutely captivating to me as I continued to point out to my friend what I was hearing and seeing.

That particular day will forever be locked in my memory...as well as the compliment that followed.

My friend pointed out that as a result of our time together over the years that he began to see things through my eyes and how he had been enjoying them.

It seems as though that some folks are born with “God blessed” eyes and other folks attain them through their love and appreciation of the Lord.

Father,
I pray that every born again Christian will choose to settle for nothing less than eyes that are blessed by You. Help us to see and enjoy the colors and sounds and beauty in nature as well as in each other. We want our lives to be in harmony with You as well as the things that You have created for our enjoyment and comfort.
Amen

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Easily Bent

(Ephesians 4:14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 

If there was ever a season when this scripture needed to be heeded it is now. There has never been a time when more people were “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” than today. According to our text, the cure for such a problem is to grow up and stop being “children”.

I am not sure how we got to this place so quickly, but one thing I am sure of is that we desperately need to go back to the fundamentals of the gospel.

I wonder…whatever happened to the ‘old time religion’?  I am not talking about religion in the negative sense, but just simple basic Bible truths where it is not necessary to analyze every word for hidden meanings.

As a result of not having this basic Bible truth as an anchor…insecurity has crept into far too many Christian lives. For many, the Bible and prayer are no longer the source of direction for making important decisions. They feel safer relying on the opinion of others.

There is certainly nothing wrong with seeking the wisdom and counsel of others, but when that is one’s primary source for direction…personal disaster is soon to follow.

I have noticed lately that more and more people are basing the direction for their lives strictly on other people’s opinions. Like reeds, they usually bend in the direction of the last wind (or opinion) that blows.

The reason this concerns me is because this is a setup for “...the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive,” as our text says.

At this point in my Meditations I usually give a personal example or story in order to support the point I am trying to make. However, I want to refrain from that today because the intent of this Meditation is to encourage and not bring more insecurity.

There is nothing quite as freeing for one than to discover they can actually hear the voice of the Lord for themselves.

That does not mean that I am suggesting the Lone Ranger theory of being un-teachable and not seeking the wisdom of others. I simply want to encourage the children of God that they can learn to hear the voice of their heavenly Father for themselves.

Father,
Help us to practice hearing Your sweet voice as we walk together in the cool of the day. Help us to understand that we talk to You in the natural, but You talk back to us by the Spirit. Heal our insecurity so we will not be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine”.
Amen


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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Look of Love

(Song of Solomon 4:7 KJV) Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

It is difficult to read this verse without feeling some emotional involvement. The tenderness in which Solomon wrote almost leaves one breathless, because his “eyes of love” could only see the perfection in his darling and not the flaws.

I also find it difficult to read this scripture and then just pass on to something else. This scripture almost compels one to stop and marinate in the emotion of it in order to understand exactly what Solomon felt.

Recently, while in Hawaii on vacation, I was intrigued by the number of weddings and photo shoots that were taking place on the beaches.

I was particularly intrigued by how each bride and groom looked at each other. It seemed as though at that very moment in their lives they were blinded by love, and like Solomon, they were unable to see any spots or flaws in one another. After all there is nothing quite as beautiful and perfect as love.

I am actually reminded of my own “look of love” story that happened many years ago (and is still happening). Before my wife and I were married, we were sitting in a Coney Island hotdog restaurant in Houston, Texas about to enjoy one of our favorite (we should not be eating this) meals. After bowing our heads and saying grace we looked up at each other, but we were unable to eat. Our love for one another had completely taken away our appetites for natural food. The only thing we could do was to quietly sit there and look at each other.

I am not sure how long we actually sat there in the restaurant, but it was a very long time. We finally left the restaurant that night without having eaten a bite.

Perhaps we had discovered some of what Solomon was trying to communicate in our text.
We may have also discovered (at least in part), what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples upon returning from buying food, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (John 4:32).

Could it be the food that Jesus was talking about was the “food of love?” After all, He had just been ministering the love of the Father to the woman at the well.

If that is the case, then that would not only explain why Solomon saw his darling as perfect…but it would also explain why my wife and I lost our appetite in the restaurant that night. True love is not only perfect, but it feeds one on a deeper level.

It has been a long time since our experience at the Coney Island Restaurant, but the effect and emotion of it is as real today as it was then.

Perfect love is how Jesus sees each of us and maybe the Solomon story is in the Bible to encourage us to love one another.

Father,
Help us to see perfect love through Your eyes. Help us not to focus on the spots and flaws we may discover in others, but on the finished work of the cross. We thank You Lord for using Solomon to show the heart of perfect love.

Amen

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