Meditations by John Dean

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Town That Disappeared

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die...

No truer words were ever spoken than those in our text. There does seem to be a built-in governing factor in each one’s allotted “season” that cannot be controlled by that person. This governing factor has to do with...when one is born and when they die. The quality of time between those two factors is oftentimes affected by the quality of decisions made by that individual.

In spite of one’s personal circumstances, God has given each person the freedom to choose how they fill their allotted time. They can choose to live a positive life in the Lord or they can choose to live a negative life feeling mistreated and unloved.

The Bible says that man’s days are three score and ten which is seventy years. In Biblical numerology seventy is a perfect number. However, that number can either be interpreted as a literal seventy years or it can be interpreted that the allotted time one has been given is perfect. If the former interpretation is the case then the seventy years speaks of ”kairos” time which means a given moment. If the latter interpretation is right then that is “chronos” time which means a season in which something will occur or cease. You might say the “chronos” time is the correct interpretation because it is a fluctuating number that changes with each individual.

Regardless of what our personal thoughts are on our allotted time…each season that is given by God is in perfect harmony with His will. There really is a “time to be born and a time to die.”

Having said all of that I am still not sure we fully understand “times or seasons” and that is why we have to believe it by faith.
A simple explanation does not seem sufficient when one thinks of a baby dying at a few weeks of age while a man in the mountains of Ecuador is still alive at one hundred twenty-four years.

A few days ago while visiting my daughter and son-in-law in East Texas, I had an experience I will not soon forget. One day my son-in-law and I went riding through the countryside which took us through a few small towns. We drove through what I had remembered as a kid, a bustling town. This town had a large sawmill, lots of streets and houses, stores, schools, restaurants, a hotel, a theater, a feed store, a service station, post office, train station and many other things.

However, the day that my son-in-law and I drove through this was gone. As a matter of fact there was not even any evidence that a town ever existed there. Where the hotel, school, theater and everything else was…there is now a mature forest ready to harvest.

The large sawmill moved out and as a result so did everything else. That was almost sixty years ago and the town is not even a memory in anyone’s mind except in the mind of a few remaining old folks like me.

As sad as that may seem I wonder if somehow that fits within the same category as our text “A time to be born and a time to die.”

Help us to accept the fact that the coming and going of life is a cycle that must take place. We may not understand the timing of life or even the reason of death, but we do desire to trust You and leave those decisions in Your hands.


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Monday, February 17, 2014

Living Below the Blessing Line

(Psalms 34:8 ASV) Oh taste and see that Jehovah is good: Blessed is the man that taketh refuge in him. 

Over the years I have noticed on church marquees, billboards and even on t-shirts the saying, “Try God.” This saying has always caused me a bit of consternation because it seemed to suggest that ‘trying God’ is no different than trying a new brand of coffee. My thoughts either accept God or reject Him...but you do not try Him to see if a relationship can work out. That seems extremely dishonoring.

However, after studying our text a bit deeper I have come to the conclusion that I may have wrongly judged the people making such statements and possibly missed the intent behind the “Try God” idea. Perhaps there is a subliminal confidence behind their idea that coincides with the “Taste and see that Jehovah is good” idea in out text. If my conclusion is right then such an idea is not only refreshing, but full of faith, believing that once one “Tries or Tastes” God’s presence, then there is no turning back for them.

God’s desire has always been to bless us because He is the author of good. The result of the “Taste God” invitation in our text is that we are injected with happiness which results in His blessing.

However, the question that seems to resonate in my mind the most is how many blessings have we missed by not “Tasting God” in some area of our lives. Is it possible that we have given up on things before their conclusion?... things that would have led to a blessing. If that is the case then how far below the “Blessing Line” are we actually living?

Several years ago when my wife and I got new cars I was never able to get the factory built-in garage door opener in our cars to sync with our garage door. I tried several times, but could never make it work. I finely gave up on the sync idea and went on to what I believed to be more important things. We used portable garage door openers which I thought was a decent substitute for the real thing.

A couple of days ago while driving down the street (not far from home) I felt the Lord speak to me about giving up on things too easily. I thought to myself, “Lord I never give up on anything.” I had no more thought that when the Lord reminded me of my factory garage door opener and how I had given up on it and settled for the substitute.

I immediately felt pricked in my heart by the Lord, so I drove home with a level of faith and resolve that I was going to sync that garage door to our cars at all cost. Fifteen minutes later both cars were in full sync with my garage door.

I then ran into the house rejoicing and telling my wife of my long overdue victory. Later while reclining in my chair thinking about this whole garage door issue I seem to be aware of God’s “wee small voice.” It seemed to be saying, “How many other things have you given up on that I sent to you as a blessing?”

That question has never been out of my mind since that day.

I think I am beginning to understand the intent behind the saying, “Try God.” Psalms 34:8 says it this way, “Oh taste and see that Jehovah is good: Blessed is the man that taketh refuge in Him.” Lord my desire is to be a perpetual ‘Taster’ of You in all things. Help me Lord not to live below the “Blessing Line” that is rightly mine.


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