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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Seat of Jealousy

(Ezekiel 8:3 NKJV) He stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my hair; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which provokes to jealousy.

How was it possible for the “image of jealousy” to actually set up its own “seat” in the inner court of the temple? It would appear to have been easier to set it up in the outer court where all the people were gathered than in the inner court where the “men of God” were. After all, men of God are supposed to be more sensitive and less tolerant in allowing such intruders.

There has always been a much higher expectation of the Priest who functions in the inner court than of the people who operate in the outer court. However, the “jealousy” strategy does make more sense in the inner court if one can get by with it. After all, as the Priest goes, so goes the people.

I find it amazing that the “spirit of jealously” still uses this same strategy today in the church as it did in the Temple. The purpose of such strategy is to weaken the Body of Christ and make it ineffective. One may ask, “Since everybody seems to have to deal with jealously at one time or the other then what harm is it?” The fact is, jealously is like a slow growing cancer…it is a destroyer.

When God is jealous for us it is because He is our protector. When we are jealous of one another it is because of our insecurity. There is a big difference between being jealous like God and making someone else jealous like the “image” was doing in our text. Being jealous like God is the result of superiority whereas being jealous like man is the result of inferiority.

 Man’s type of jealousy is a mixture of emotions that can include anger, fear, grief and feelings of betrayal that are the result of a basic survival instinct.

The fact is jealousy has been known to have a negative effect on one’s brain, their stomach, their eyes and their heart. This type of jealousy is rooted in the “seat of the image of jealousy” that was set up in the inner court of the temple. This is obviously not the God kind of jealously.

The “image of jealousy” in our text is a picture of how that same spirit wants to set up shop in our temple (our body), for the purpose of destroying our mind, body and emotions.

Over the years I have known several “jealousy addicts” whose lives were totally miserable because they were jealousy driven.

Many years ago I helped bring a minister to this country. He proved to be a very jealous man. At that time I was blinded by “what I believed to be” his anointing and gifting, but I was totally unaware of this particular character flaw.

The young man had no more than gotten to town when he began manipulating to get rid of the head pastor so he could take over the church. No one knew of all the shenanigans he was trying to pull except me…and I cut his plans off at every turn.

Because I loved our head pastor I would have done anything to protect him and shield him from such dastardly deeds. This was one of those things that I was trying to protect him from and particularly since I endorsed this guy. I actually spent time trying to deal with the “spirit of jealousy” in the young man’s life, but it was so deep that I was never successful.

He eventually left that church and started his own church thinking all the people would go with him…but they did not.

The fact is, jealousy is a destroyer and will always rob one of the success that usually accompanies one’s anointing and gifting.

Father,
Help us to not allow the “seat of the image of jealousy” to be set up in our temple (our body). We only want You to set on the throne of our life so righteousness will prevail. Help us also to be a healing agent to those who face such insecurity, who allow jealousy to rule their lives.

Amen

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Dumbing Down

(Deuteronomy 5:16 KJV) Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Even though I have read through the Bible many times over the years, I find it to be even more exciting each time I read it. The Bible has the ability to do what other books are incapable of doing. It has the ability to adjust its revelation to match the reader’s mental capabilities and understanding…yet be challenging enough to draw them back for another read and deeper revelation.

The reason the Bible is so exciting to read is because it is filled with hope for today, promise for tomorrow, revelation for understanding, instruction for success and ancestral history. All scripture is exciting, but our text seems to be different because it appears to have been purposely written on the emotional edge.

According to our text, God is so high on showing honor and respect toward one’s parents that He even promises a reward to those who fulfill this command. It may seem at first like God is trying to bribe one into respectful behavior, but that is not the case at all. Receiving a reward for showing honor and respect toward one’s parents is only a smaller version of what happens when one shows their love and respect towards the Lord. We are simply learning how to treat God by practicing on our parents.

If the result of honor is a reward, then obviously the opposite is true where there is dishonor. However, not all dishonor is intentional and therefore does not carry a penalty.

I have noticed over the years when some parents or grandparents grow older their children begin patronizing them by talking down to them in the same tone one would speak to a young child…this is dishonoring. When one treats their parents as if they are incapable of being part of the decision making process when they are capable…this is dishonoring. When one makes the parents feel as though they are in the way…this is dishonoring. When the parents know that the children cannot wait for them to die…this is dishonoring.

I realize in some cases that the role between the parents and children needs to be switched due to a parent’s physical or mental condition. However, when the roles are switched prematurely then that communicates to the parents that they have “dumbed down” and are incapable of contribution. When that happens, it is obviously devastating to the parents and there is nothing they can do about it.

I am also aware that the term “dumbed down” is not a term found in the most dictionaries but I am pretty sure that every reader knows exactly what I am talking about.

I suppose the most precious example of showing honor and respect to parents was with my dear friends in Illinois. They not only had their own family living with them, but also an aged parent and grandparent at the same time. Love, honor and respect was so evident that it was as if all of this had been orchestrated by the Lord. I have thought about this family many times over the years and am aware that the Lord allowed me to see this as an object lesson.

The point of this meditation is simply showing the importance of respect and honor.

Father,
Thank You for showing us the deeper revelation of our text. As a result, we clearly see that even though our text is about children and parents…it is also a pattern of living a life of respect and honor towards others.
Amen

Down

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Wait

(Psalms 27:14 KJV) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

There are probably not many words that will cause one to think soberly as quickly as the word “wait.” Mankind was born impatient and therefore learning patience calls for a character change which in turn causes him to even be more impatient.

I suppose the real question is…what is patience? Is patience really a character change or is it discipline? I have looked at my own life in regards to this question and I am still not sure.

All I know is that when I sit in an airplane on the tarmac for an hour I am well aware of my thoughts. This is particularly true when the captain comes on the intercom thanking me for my patience when in fact I am not patient at all, I am only disciplined. Just because one does not react does not necessarily mean that he is patient. Sometimes I even wonder if discipline is not another word for patience, as patience seems to be the twin brother of “wait.”

The next question…is there a difference between waiting on the Lord and waiting on another person? I believe there is a big difference between the two.

Waiting on the Lord seems to be two-fold because it not only builds one’s character through patience…it also seems to precede the Lord’s blessing. This is confirmed in Isaiah 40:31 KJV “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” In other words waiting on the Lord is always rewarding.

Even though waiting on another person may show one’s good character it does not necessarily mean it is rewarding. A good example of that is if one has a 10:00 AM appointment with a friend and the friend does not show up until 10:30 AM. That shows one’s patience and good character in waiting, but it is not necessarily rewarding. The reason for that is the “late” person does not value the meeting in the same way as the “on time” person does…therefore it is not rewarding. This is called “forced” patience, which is no real indication of true patience at all…it is only discipline and an act of kindness.

Recently a fifty-nine year old man left his wife to go and (as he said) find himself. No one knows if he is coming back home to his wife again even though he says he still loves her. The wife said, “Waiting on him to make that decision is the hard part.”

In this case the wife’s “waiting” on her husband to make the right decision is wasted time. She must apply the Isaiah 40:31 scripture and “…wait upon the LORD… and mount up with wings as eagles…and not be weary… and not faint.”  “Waiting” on the Lord is the only answer for the believer.

Father,
We seem to know so little about “waiting,” patience and discipline. Mature us so we will do better and fail less. Help us to be a better example to others who are struggling in the same areas, and above all teach us how to “wait upon the Lord.”

Amen

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Monday, July 7, 2014

I Had a Bad Day

(Ecclesiastes 7:14 MSG) On a good day, enjoy yourself; on a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won't take anything for granted.

The “Message” gives quite a challenge on how one should respond to their day. I am not sure that I have actually thought about how I have responded to a day one way or the other. I obviously “enjoy” a good day, but I am not sure that I “examine my conscience” on “a bad day” as the “Message” suggests.

Since reading this passage and meditating on it for a while I think I have learned some things. I have come to the conclusion that this scripture is really a lesson on maturity. The immature know how to “enjoy” a good day, but it takes a mature person to grow when having a “bad day.”

The fact is, good days and bad days are a part of life, but neither of them are the point of this scripture. The point of this scripture is not how we enjoy having a “good day” (everyone knows how to do that), but how we learn from having a “bad day.”

I have also come to the conclusion that how one values their day varies from person to person. For example, to one person a good day means finding a good parking place at the mall. To another person having a good day means having a meal once a day or a bed to sleep in. Perhaps everything is relevant.

My wife told me that she met with a friend of hers one day and the friend said to her, “This has been the worst day of my life. I had my hair frosted and it was so bad that I had to go back and reverse the frosting.” Karen’s response was, “I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that.”

While Karen was supporting and encouraging her friend who had the bad “frosting” job…Karen had just lost her mother and her little sister was dying with cancer.

There seems to be two different kinds of pain going on in the story with Karen and her friend. There is the pain associated with pride which is a bad frosting job. Then there is the pain associated with a broken heart…the loss of Karen’s mother and a little sister dying with cancer.

I have also come to the conclusion that there is a bit of childishness in everyone when it comes to disappointment. It appears that a person who seems to show maturity in one area could actually be immature in another area. If that is the case then perhaps our text is not showing how the mature and the immature act relative to my original thought. Maybe it is showing us both sides of the same person…the natural side and the spiritual side. Perhaps as we grow spiritually that side will one day be more dominate than the natural side.

Father,
Thank You for showing us the revelation of the two sides of humanity. Lord, help us to be as patient with those who only know how to respond to the words in our text… “On a good day, enjoy yourself.” I also pray that others will be patience with us as we mature while learning how to respond to the words in our text… “On a bad day, examine your conscience.”

Amen

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