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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, August 25, 2014

Spiritual Aristocracy

(Hebrews 13:24 KJV) Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

This scripture certainly indicates there are different “classes” of people…those who rule and those who are ruled over. However, there is a big difference between “ruling over” and “lording over.” When one “rules over” (as in our text), it is usually the result of Godly function, scriptural government or the anointing. This type of “class” difference is fine[WDH1]  and should be respected.

However, “lording” over another is a completely different type of “class” difference. This “class” difference is usually the result of one person needing to control another person in order to cover their own insecurity.

Even though our text has to do with leaders in the church, the same principle applies to leaders outside of the church. The fact is, a leader in the church may have to submit to a leader outside the church because one always yields to the higher anointing or authority.

For example; a policeman may submit to his pastor’s authority in the church, whereas the pastor will submit to the policeman’s authority outside the church. In other words, just because one has a ‘Measure of Rule’ in one place does not mean he has a ‘Measure of Rule’ in all places.

The fact is, we are all rulers to one degree or another depending on our own sphere. Ruling over another person in one’s sphere does not mean that the person ruling is better than the person being ruled over. In this case it has to do with function, not the devaluing of the other person.

If the car of the most powerful person in the world broke down and he could not fix it, then he must submit to the mechanic who can fix it. In this case the mechanic has rule over the most powerful man in the world in regards to his car. This type of rule only lasts as long as the mechanic is functioning in his sphere in repairing the car and the most powerful man in the world has to submit to it.

One’s ‘class’ is usually determined by one’s gifting, power, education, money, status, age, homes and many more things. In other words, ‘class difference’ is usually not determined by one’s character, but by one’s external things. As a result, many people do not understand why they should show honor to someone of a higher ‘class’ with lower character.

There is nothing wrong with “saluting” (showing honor) to another as long as we do not think that “saluting” them is an admission that they are more valuable to God than we are. By showing honor to another it simply shows respect to those of higher gifting, anointing, office or authority.

Over the years I have been blessed to visit many of the homes of the aristocrats while ministering in England. Those homes are absolutely breathtaking and it seems far beyond reason for any person to live in such a luxurious manner.

The staff of servants, which includes several levels of spheres in the home as well as the staff of servants who care for the stables, the farms and grounds are enormous.

The class difference between the aristocrat and the servants is also enormous. As a matter of fact, in some homes when a member of the aristocratic family walks into a room where a maid is working the maid must either turn her face to the wall or run out of the room. In other cases if a servant is seen walking across the lawn they would immediately be dismissed.

The point I want to make in this Meditation is to encourage each of us to be aware of any level of “spiritual aristocracy.” Such things may present themselves in our own life through things like jealousy. The fact is, jealousy is the springboard for envy and envy needs to always lead or be on top or in control. This type of rule is not what our text is talking about.

There is something beautiful and respectful about saluting or giving honor to another as in our text. This class difference is not demeaning at all…but godly.

Father,
I must confess we have had so many bad examples of unruly rulers that sometimes we tend to rebel. Forgive us Lord and teach us how to be the right example as we lead others. Help us to show respect to those that come under our authority and help us to also show respect to those who have authority over us.
Amen


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Monday, August 18, 2014

De-friending

(Proverbs 17:17KJV) A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

The older I get the more I question many of the things I once thought I had all the answers to. Among those are “friendship and love.”

One often refers to their acquaintances as their friends, but when tested their acquaintances usually turn out to only be their acquaintances. One often misinterprets friendliness with friendship. This can be a setup for disappointment.

That type of friendship (acquaintance) often changes with circumstances. When things are going well in a person’s life they are usually loved and respected. When things begin to go wrong in that person’s life then many times those acquaintances either forsake them or at least stand at a distance from them.

If that is the case then the friendship was based on circumstances rather than on the drawing of one’s heart. A true friend loves regardless of another’s success or failure. Anyone can love another when things are going well in their life.

I have also noticed over the years that many words have lost their meaning. That being the case, then words like “love” and “friend” are only meaningful for the moment. Obviously that kind of “love and friendship” can change quickly the first time something contrary happens.

I have always been intrigued by what is called “friends” on Facebook. Since I tend to think more literally than most, I usually look at friendship from the Bible’s perspective rather than from an acquaintance perspective.

Before I appear to be more “holy than thou”…I want to expose my own hypocritical self by saying I too have fallen into the old “Facebook” type of friends. The fact is, I do not have a clue who most of those people are that I call my friends on Facebook.

Perhaps it is because of (what is considered to be) the “Facebook” type of interpretation of “friendship” that makes it easy for one to “de-friend” another. Could it be that these types of friends were never really friends at all…but perhaps something shy of an acquaintance?

I know someone who is continually de-friending others…even their family members because of disagreements…but when the squabble is over they make them their friends again on Facebook.

The “Facebook” type of “friendship” is obviously not what our text was trying to communicate. As sad as it may be I am afraid the church has adopted more of the “Facebook” type of interpretation of “friends” than the Bible’s interpretation.

Maybe we need to take another look at the Bible’s meaning for “friends” and begin adjusting back to Biblical truth and enjoy real friendship.

Father,
Forgive us for slipping backward and taking something as meaningful as true friendship so lightly. You said in our text that “A friend loves at all times.” However, there have been times when it has been much easier to “de-friend” someone than to show grace and mercy. Help us to mature as a friend.

Amen

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Monday, August 11, 2014

African Worship

(1Chronicles 16:7-12 ASV) Then on that day did David first ordain to give thanks unto Jehovah, by the hand of Asaph and his brethren. O give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name; Make known his doings among the peoples. Sing   unto him, sing praises unto him; Talk ye of all his marvelous works. Glory ye in his holy name; Let the heart of them rejoice that seek Jehovah. Seek ye Jehovah and his strength; Seek his face evermore. Remember his marvelous works that he hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of his mouth,

It is shocking when one thinks they really understand something to find out later that they only understood it in part. For example, it is possible that our text will show our lack of understanding of true worship more than any other scripture I know.

David’s suggestion for worshiping the Lord is obviously much deeper and broader than what many may be accustomed to. For example, oftentimes our worship consists of a dark room, flashing lights, screaming guitars and the speakers turned up so loud one cannot hear their own voice enough to even participate.

I realize that many today enjoy this “rock concert” type of music approach, but that is not what David had in mind for worshiping God. David’s approach sprang from the depth of one’s being…as an offering to God as well as a form of total surrender. Pleasing man and showing one’s gifting was not even in the equation.

I have seen many approaches to worshiping God over the years and I am sure He was blessed by those efforts because He looks at one’s heart. However, as good as some of those efforts were, they appear to fall short of what I think David was trying to communicate.

I have always been very sensitive to certain sounds of music and how my own spirit is affected. Some music may affect me in a way that I want to fall before the Lord and worship Him. Other sounds and notes seem to release the prophetic gift in me.

Recently while ministering in South Africa I was surrounded by hundreds of Africans who seemed to know exactly what David was trying to communicate. The first thing I noticed was that their worship did not spring from their gifting, but from every fiber of their being. I sat there absorbing this phenomena through each worship service while trying to analyze how they were able to yield so much of themselves…all at the same time. I must confess I was shocked to discover that what I thought I understood, I only knew in part. As a result of that revealing experience, I have purposed in my heart to worship more in the spirit of our text and less in the spirit of the “now” musical season.

Father,
Thank You for teaching me first hand through the Africans what our text is really about. I have never wanted to hold any offering back from You and especially my worship of You. Lord help me to be an example in worship to others as the Africans were to me.

Amen

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Words and Sounds

(Matthew 12:36KJV) But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment.

Over the years I have thought a lot about this scripture and refer to it often when I teach on the subject of “watching your confession.” After having read it so many times, I have come to the conclusion that it may have two levels of understanding. The first level has to do with speaking negative words or words without faith. The second level refers to any idle word that does not bring life.

If the second level of understanding is true then how does God appraise “small talk”? After all, the most unproductive idle words there are, are those found in “small talk.”

Even though I have never considered myself to be a good “small talker,” I admire those who are. I am actually intrigued by those who have the ability to talk for hours and never seem to say anything significant.

Because I am a better listener than I am a contributor, I am totally entertained by folks who have the ability to talk on so many subjects with so little knowledge.

However, after having said that then perhaps I need to address the real question. Who will be held more accountable...those who abundantly use idle words or those who judge those who abundantly use idle words? Wow!!! Maybe I better change the subject.

I personally enjoy “mind stretching,” idea provoking conversations much more than I do “small talk.” By saying that I do not mean to imply that I think I am a deep thinking individual…I only mean to say that I enjoy “thought provoking conversation.”

The reason we will be held accountable for idle words is because there is nothing more powerful than the spoken word. Out of all of God’s creation He only gave man the ability to speak as He Himself did in creating the world.

One may ask, “How is God going to know every word I have spoken?” There are two ways. The first way is because God is “all knowing.” The second way is that every word and sound is recorded in the earth…nothing is lost.

Many scientists believe that every hard object is a recording object and therefore capable of recording every sound. I happen to agree with this and it does not stretch my imagination at bit to believe that sound has no end. This is why I think it is important that we control our confession.

Some time ago when I was in Corpus Christi, Texas where the USS Lexington is docked, I decided to take a tour of this grand old aircraft carrier. I was not only surprised at how huge this thing was, but also of all the sounds that still seem to reside there. It was as though every sound from its very beginning, the sound of every man, every machine and aircraft was still reverberating throughout the entire aircraft carrier. I was absolutely astonished.

If a natural man can hear such sounds then how much more the Lord knows every word we speak. However, because the Lord is gracious He already has a plan to cover all of our wrong, faithless idle words. All we have to do is simply repent and ask for forgiveness.
 
By the way, maybe there is a difference between the idle words in our text and the idle words in “small talk.” You decide.

Father,
Help us to clean up our conversation and teach us how to always speak meaningful, faith filled words that build up one another. We understand there are good sounds and there are bad sounds, so help our conversation to always produce good sounds.

Amen

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