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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, January 26, 2015

Nothing is Ever Lost

(Geneses 18:27 KJV)  And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which I am but dust and ashes:

Even though Abraham had the privilege of talking to God he never saw himself equal with God. When he referred to himself as “dust and ashes” it was because he knew his origin and the place that he would eventually return to. He was also well aware of the vast difference between Holy God and created man.

Even though Abraham and God were actually married through a blood covenant relationship he never showed any signs of being over familiar with God. Perhaps it was because of that marriage relationship that God said in Jeremiah 3:14 that He was “forever married to the backslider”, meaning Israel, even though Israel continued to dishonor Him.

It warms my heart to see the way Abraham referred to God in such a humble and modest manner. He knew that speaking to God was an honor that he did not deserve.

The part that Abraham said about being “dust and ashes” seemed to jump out at me more than anything else. While meditating on that part I came to the conclusion that nothing in the world is ever really lost.

A few days ago while ministering in the small West Texas community of Fort Hancock, Texas I had a simple yet impactful experience. As a result of that experience I began thinking more about the whole subject of “dust and ashes”.

Fort Hancock was originally named Camp Rice and was established back in the late 1800s by a group of Buffalo Soldiers’. At that time in Texas history forts and camps were being established all along the Texas Mexico border to protect the settlers from the Mexican/Indian renegades.

The only thing that remains of most of the old forts and camps are just the memories of days gone by.
One of the elders of the church in Fort Hancock owns a large cotton farm that I enjoy driving through when I am in town. One Saturday morning the pastor of the church and I drove over to the elder’s farm and picked him up and began driving through his beautiful farm. As we drove along I mentioned the old fort and how I was intrigued by it and the farmer immediately said, “Stop the truck”. At that very moment we were actually driving over the site of the old fort.

When we got out of the truck my farmer friend began raking dirt to one side with his foot. He reached down and picked up what looked to be a piece of red rock that had been broken and handed it to me. Upon examining it I realized it was actually a piece of brick from the old fort. Over the years all the wood and logs from the old fort had rotted and all the brick had been ground into pieces.

The farmer told me that occasionally someone from El Paso will come out with a metal detector and fine things such as a coin, a button, a shell casing, a belt buckle and one time even a cannon ball.

As I looked at the piece of brick the farmer handed me I began thinking about our text and about being “dust and ashes”. I began to realize that nothing is ever really lost…it just returned to its original state. Abraham knew that and that is why he was never over familiar with God.

Father,
Even though You are our Heavenly Father and You have given us the privilege of boldly coming into Your presence we do not want to do that in a dishonoring way. Help us to be like Abraham and see ourselves as the created and not the creator.
Amen


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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Foolish Person

(Proverbs 29:11 ISV)  The fool vents all his feelings, but the wise person keeps them to himself.

This verse seems to show the contrast of the two sides of mankind. One usually starts off in life saying and doing foolish things as a result of their immaturity. However, as they grow up and mature then healthy changes are expected with more self-control of their actions and speech.  The only way restraints and control can actually come is through maturity.

When an older person continues to do whatever feels good to them and say whatever comes to their mind it is because their emotional being did not mature at the same rate as their physical being. It is actually possible for one to have a ninety year old body with an eight year emotional development.

When a little kid says everything that comes to their mind it is kinda cute. We laugh and say, “Well they are just speaking their mind”. However, when they get older and still do the same thing, then that is no longer cute.

One of the most distasteful things is for a physically mature person to speak whatever comes to their mind. The result of such action is usually a string of wounded people in their path because they used their mouth as a weapon. Strong’s concordance interprets the word “foolish” in our text as “Stupid or silly”.

Strong’s interpretation may seem a little harsh at first but its message could actually be a lifeline for building one’s character. If one could learn from Strong’s interpretation it could actually change their mouth from being a spiritual weapon of mass destruction to a source of life and healing.

When God gave man the ability to speak it was for the purpose of speaking creatively as He does. However, when Satan came along in the Garden of Eden one of the first things he did was to pervert man’s creative speaking ability and turn it into a weapon of destruction. That is why Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue...”

As one matures in life two things are expected. Counting the cost before one acts and running every thought thru a filtering process before speaking. Without filters one’s speech is like a loaded weapon in the hands of a child.

Because I have been acquainted with many people who seem to have no control over their actions or mouth it would be cruel for me to identify any one of them. This Meditation may fit many but it was through the actions of one person that provoked this writing.

Over the years I have made a habit of studying folks who seem to have no filters on their mouths. To my surprise most of them are all basically good people even though at times they have the ability to destroy another person with their mouth. Another thing they seem to have in common are folks who follow behind them picking up the pieces and trying to heal the damage that was caused by their uncontrolled mouth.

I have also noticed that the worst cases of mouth destruction seen to come from Christians. Perhaps it is because of their relationship with the Lord that they have more power in their words than most. The sad thing is when one uses their God given power to destroy rather than to build up. In other words they have the ability to smile and talk sweet to you in one moment and kill you the next moment with the same mouth.

When that happens it is because their body matured but their emotions did not and therefore they go through life lopsided and in need of healing. I have also noticed that the person with no filters is not capable of receiving any measure of rejection or being talked to in the same destructive way that they talk to others.

I just wonder…is our text really talking about all those other people or is it talking about us?

Father,
Heal us and help us to mature with filters on our mouths lest we destroy those You love. Forgive us Lord when we misuse Your power and teach us to talk like You.
Amen







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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Life of Contentment

(1Timothy 6:8 KJV)  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Living a contented life is a matter of choice and not a matter of circumstances. Circumstances have nothing to do with one’s contentment …contentment comes from the way one looks at their circumstances. The apostle Paul said, “…in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. (Philippians 4:11) 

When one is not content with only food and clothing then they are not likely to be content when they have more. The fact is, contentment or the lack thereof reveals one’s spiritual condition and therefore it becomes a mirror of the heart.

Being content does not mean that one is lazy or unproductive but quite the opposite. When one is content they are actually capable of producing more with less effort. It has been proven that happy contented people are healthier and less accident prone and more productive than those who are discontented and unhappy.

Contented people are also more likely to be forward thinkers which means they are prone to be more creative. Their creativity could lead them to become a writer, a singer, a musician, or a thousand other wonderful things.

Just think…all of this started with being content with food and clothing.

A few years ago I had just finished speaking at a conference in the interior of the Philippines and was driving back to Manila. On the way back I saw something that changed my life forever.

While I was waiting at a stop sign preparing to turn left onto another highway I noticed several shacks on the opposite side of the road. However, there was one particular shack that really caught my attention. It, like others, was constructed with a few pieces of corrugated tin nailed to some boards. It did not have windows but it did have a handmade front door that was standing wide open.

Sitting on the outside next to that front door was a little Filipino mother who had the greatest look of contentment and peace on her face that one could have imagined. On the opposite side of the front door she had planted a beautiful little flower. There was no grass or trees or anything else in her tiny front yard…only a little flower.

My first thought was, “How can she be so content with so little?” When I looked across the road the only thing I could see was a shack…but she saw a home. I saw an ugly front yard…she saw a garden. I felt pity for her…but she appeared contented.

At that point I suddenly realized that true contentment is not the result of possessions…it is much deeper than that. That day at the stop sign, God used a little Filipino mother to teach me that true contentment is the result of living deeper in the true love of God. I am not sure how she did it but somehow this little mother from the Philippines had learned the art of being content in all things.

Father,
That little lady will never know the influence she had on me that day while I was at the stop sign. Lord help me to also live in such a way that strangers will see the contentment in my life.

Amen

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