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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Wings of Worship

(1Corinthians 2:9)  But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Over the years when reading this scripture I have tried to imagine some of the things that God has prepared for those who love Him. The fact is, the natural mind is not capable of understanding such things no matter how hard one tries. Even when exercising one’s imagination to the limits, they usually end up only personifying the best of something natural which is not even close to what God has in mind.

One usually gets stuck on the “which God has prepared” part and overlooks the “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man” part. In other words, it is impossible for man to imagine what God has prepared for him…no matter how hard he tries.

I love this scripture because it brings hope to everyone and especially to those who have suffered the pain of this world such as hunger, the poor, the orphan, the lonely, the abused and the rejected. Perhaps it is because of such pain and suffering that God has prepared something for us that is indescribable.

While ministering in central Texas last week I inquired regarding a dear lady I met a few years ago who had passed away. She was commonly referred to as Snooks. She was not only beautiful, but she was a great business woman who stood out among a shrinking breed of true pioneers. Her strength and pioneer spirit also epitomized her faith as a woman who loved the Lord.

She came to a service where I was ministering one time and helped me pray for someone. Snooks was a dear lady.

At her funeral service one of her nieces gave a report of the last forty-eight hours of her life here on earth. Snooks’ body may have been laying on her bed those last two days, but her spirit had already joined the heavenly host praising the Lord around the throne. As a matter of fact the nurses said they had never seen anything like that in their lives. She lay on her bed with one hand in the air praising the Lord continually and looking intently into that heavenly realm while glowing with His presence.

I wonder if somehow in those two days of worshiping the Lord that He gave Snooks a preview of the things that He had prepared for her. On the other hand, maybe what she actually saw and was so excited about was not the things that He had prepared for her, but the overwhelming breathtaking Glory of the Lord.

Father,
Like Snooks, I want to praise my way from this realm to the next. I want to inspire others by my home-going as Snooks did. Father, I am sure those nurses will never be the same after knowing a little pioneer woman called Snooks.

Amen

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

He Deserves Our Praise

(Psalms 126:2 ASV)  Then was our mouth filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing: Then said they among the nations, Jehovah hath done great things for them.

Our text is speaking of the joy the Jews were experiencing when they returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity. However, while in captivity they not only refused to sing to the Lord, but they even hung their harps on the willows (Ps 137:2). In other words, their circumstances determined their worship.

Scriptures like this in the Old Testament are a good example of how the natural- minded man works. When people feel good and things are right then they might worship the Lord. If they do not feel good and if things are not going well then they will not worship the Lord.

The New Testament teaches us that one’s circumstances do not determine one’s ability to rejoice and worship the Lord. A good example of that is the apostle Paul and Silas when they were thrown into prison. They did not allow their circumstances to keep them from praising the Lord. As a matter of fact, their love for the Lord was greater than the pain and discomfort they felt in that cold dark wet dungeon, so they started praising Him. It was because of their praising the Lord that His heart was touched to the point that He caused the prison doors to open.

As a result of the prison doors opening they were able to win the jailer and his entire family to the Lord and even baptized them.

The point is, one should celebrate and worship the Lord because He not only deserves our praise, but we are actually better off for it.

I still remember those wonderful days when I was a young man in the piney woods of East Texas. I remember how folks would often gather at someone’s farm for a church social and how laughter seemed to be the key ingredient. The women would be on the inside of the house fixing food. The little kids would be chasing each other or throwing a ball. The men would be on the front porch talking or playing dominos and a couple of teenagers would be cranking the homemade ice cream freezers.

After feasting on all of that good food and eating enough homemade ice cream to pop every button on our shirts, we would rest for awhile before ending the day with an old fashion gospel singing. We would gather around the old upright piano and start singing some of the best four-part harmony southern gospel music known to man...at least we thought it was.

Back in those days most country folks could sing a little harmony, but if not…at least they could sing loud. I am sure we could probably be heard for a mile through those piney woods.

My point in telling this story is that many of the folks singing the loudest at those simple gatherings were the folks who were hurting the most. However, their pain did not keep them from praising the Lord in the best way they knew how…simply because the Lord deserved it. Their circumstances and pain had absolutely nothing to do with giving the Lord all the praise they could. They…not like the one’s in our text did not hang their harps on a willow.

Father,
Thank You for giving us the example of Paul and Silas and how their pain did not determine their praise. We not only want to learn from Paul and Silas, we also want to have the same results they did and win others to the Lord as a result of our praise.

Amen

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chariots of Fire

(2Kings 2:11 ISV)  As they continued on, talking as they went, suddenly chariots blazing with fire and pulled by fiery horses appeared, separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a wind storm to heaven!

Nothing is more uncertain than life because no one knows when their appointed time for leaving this world will be. There is no doubt that Elijah knew that his time was drawing near even though he did not know the exact moment. He and Elisha were simply walking along and talking about the ministry when the “suddenly” in our text happened.

“Blazing chariots of fire pulled by fiery horses” seemed to appear out of nowhere. There was no indication that Elijah and Elisha saw the chariots and horses coming. They just appeared “suddenly” and separated the two men.

Even though Elijah did not see the “chariots of fire” coming I do not believe that he was surprised when they did appear. Because he and Elisha both walked in a realm of the spirit that few men had walked in, I doubt that either of them were shocked by the sudden appearance of the chariots.

I believe that under normal circumstances most folks do have some feeling as to when their time is up…as is the case in the following story.

While being driven through Pennsylvania a few days ago on my way to a speaking engagement in Pittsburgh, we drove through the sleepy little community of Shanksville. This little community had a population of only two hundred and forty-five people. Shanksville was so small that it was not even known to most Pennsylvanians, much less the world.

However, on September 11, 2001 the little rural community of Shanksville, Pennsylvania would not only be forever known to the world, but would also become a hotspot for tourists. It was on a very normal quiet sunny morning at 10:03 a.m. when United Flight 93 would plunge into the earth and take the lives of forty passengers and crew.

This aircraft was hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists who had planned to use it as a weapon on an intended target. However, upon knowing the hijackers intentions 40 brave strangers aboard the plane banded together to retake the plane knowing their fate.  They all died in this effort while keeping the plane from its intended target.

As I walked around the memorial in the little town of ShanksvillePennsylvania that day I, like everyone else, remained silent. The sadness that griped my heart was almost more then I could bare. Forty brave people knew in advance that they only had minutes to live…and then they would all together pass from this world into eternity.

When it was time for Elijah to go…the Lord  sent chariots that were seen. I wonder, when these forty brave people went to be with the Lord, did He also send chariots for them that were not seen? Perhaps He did because He is no “respecter of persons.”

Father,
I am sure that the story in Shanksville, Pennsylvania or the Elijah story is not as much about them as it is about You. I really believe that You care so much for us that at our home going You send a special envoy to escort each of us into Your presence and to our reward.

Amen

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