Taking Truth Into the Heart

Good morning. It is Wednesday, September 30, 2015. Last day of September!

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is alerion. I found this one to be quite interesting, as it means, “A bird believed to have no feet,” or, “Heraldry. A representation of a bird, esp. an eagle, with neither feet nor beak.” Weird.

Today is Ask A Stupid Question Day. Go ahead. Make my day.

we had a good Huddle meeting last night. A lot of good conversation, along with some discussion about what comes next. For me, I believe that whatever comes next will be heavily involved with the prayer ministry of The Exchange. Since we are moving back to Sunday mornings in a little over a week, the Anchor prayer gathering will likely wind up being some evening during the week.

We have a PAT meeting tonight, to discuss just such things. We have to make plans for the first Sunday (even though I won’t be there). There are other things in relation to the move that will be discussed. Should be an interesting meeting.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Heart Aflame)

They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image.
They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.

Psalm 106:19-20

“For seeing that God had clothed them with his own glory, what madness was it to substitute in place of him not only an ox, but the inanimate form of an ox, as if there were any resemblance between God who creates all kinds of foods, and that stupid animal which feeds upon grass?” (p 274)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Yesterday, we looked at meditation and the mind. Today, the subject is “Meditation and the Heart.”

“Meditation on the Bible is more than just intense thinking. The Bible contains information, but it is more than that.” I can illustrate this, personally, but thinking about the guys in our Huddle. There are two (at least) of our members who are seriously into intense Bible study. They always talk about needing to be in the Word more, and by that, they mean more extended periods of intense study. On the other hand, there are guys like me who are more into the contemplative, meditative side of things. The thing is, we need both in our lives. Those other guys need to take some time and mull over what they have studied. I, on the other hand, and others like me, need to take a bit more time and study some, in order to have the information to meditate over.

Hebrews 4:12 is a well-known verse that describes the living nature of the Scriptures. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. In Romans 1:16, the gospel is described as more than just a word; it is power. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. And we need a “‘deep and penetrating contemplation’ that enables the Bible’s message to have transforming power.”

Looking again at Psalm 1, we see the metaphor of the tree planted next to streams, taking in water with its roots. “That means not merely knowing a truth but taking it inside and making it part of yourself. Meditation is spiritually ‘tasting’ the Scripture–delighting in it, sensing the sweetness of the teaching, feeling the conviction of what it tells us about ourselves, and thanking God and praising God for what it shows us about him.” In meditation, we sort of “digest” the Word that we have read and studied. In relationship to the heart, “meditation is taking the truth down into our hearts until it catches fire there and begins to melt and shape our reactions to God, ourselves, and the world.”

We can find a good example of meditation in Psalm 103:1-2. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Here, David is not speaking directly to God. He is speaking to himself, his own soul. “He is taking truth down into his heart before the face of God.” What are the benefits he lists? Forgiveness, healing, redemption, “steadfast love and mercy,” being satisfied in God, and renewal. “He is taking those biblical truths and driving them into his own heart until it is affected, delighted, and changed by them.”

We might also note that he admonishes his soul to not forget the benefits of God. Surely this cannot literally mean that David could forget that he is a child of God!! But cannot our hearts forget and fail to connect itself with the truths that we embrace? I believe so; I believe mine does that daily. Timothy Keller closes this piece with a sample meditation of the heart.

When I forget I am justified by faith alone–I give place to guilt and regret about the past. I therefore live in bondage to idols of power and money that make me feel better about myself.
When I forget I’m being sanctified through the presence of God’s Holy Spirit–I give up on myself, stop trying to change.
When I forget the hope of my future resurrection–I become afraid of aging and death.
When I forget my adoption into the family of God–I become full of fears. I don’t pray with candor. I lose my confidence. I try to hide my faults from God and myself.

Father, may these meditations sink deep down into my heart and affect change there. I see myself in this last example. I see myself being tempted to give up and stop trying to change. I see myself getting lost in guilt over things from the past. I see myself becoming afraid of what age will bring. And I see myself losing confidence and becoming full of fear.

Ironically, you have shown me recently how much you care about us not having fear, as “fear not,” along with other variations of that command, is the most often found command in your Word. This tells me that you care deeply about us and our fears. May your Holy Spirit help me with the meditations that can take root in my heart and make change there.

I pray for this day, that our travel to and from work will be safe. I pray for Christi’s day, that impending drama might be alleviated. I also pray for her leg muscles that have begun to give her problems again. Please bring healing to them. May you show your great love and grace to Stephanie today, and bring light to Rachel and Justin as the ponder whatever comes next for them. I pray for a clear path for Rachel. May my mother know your great love and mercy today.

I pray for our leadership meeting this evening, that you will give clear direction as we ponder our next move for this church.

Come, Lord Jesus.

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