Fixing the Mind, Part Deux

Good morning. It is Saturday, October 3, 2015. One week until Play del Carmen!

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is haplology. This is the”contraction of a word by omission of one or more similar sounds or syllables,” such as in “probly,” instead of “probably.”

Today is Techies Day. Embrace your inner geek! Or your outer geek, if it’s not so inner!

I worked until 6:30 last night, so Christi did, too. Not because she had to, but, since I was working late, she decided to take that time to get caught up on some things. Christi got home a bit before me (I had to stop and get our obligatory Sonic drinks, you know), so she cooked dinner, which was crescent roll hot dogs, with chili on top, and crinkle-cut french fries. Yum!

We watched the season’s second episode of Castle, and I have to say that I do NOT like the way it ended. Not one bit. Then we watched the series pilot for The Grinder, starring Fred Savage and Rob Lowe. It was hilarious, and we loved it. Definitely a keeper, so it will probably get cancelled. Finally, we watched the series premier of The Blacklist, which has gotten more intense as Red and Liz Keen are now fugitives, running from her old partners at the FBI.

Today, we will do our usual grocery shopping, then have our prayer and worship gatherings for the last time on Saturday afternoon. Services for The Exchange will be at 9:15 on Sunday morning at the YMCA on North Beach Street, beginning next Sunday, October 11. We aren’t sure when the Anchor Prayer Gathering is going to be happening, yet, but we will work that out.

I think Rachel and Justin are coming over for lunch tomorrow. That’s always nice. Then we have five work days before we fly to Mexico for our anniversary vacation. At the moment, the forecasts are calling for light rain in Playa del Carmen, next Saturday and Sunday, but we aren’t terribly concerned about that. We’ll sit on the beach in the rain, if we have to. Of course, that makes it a bit harder to read . . .

On this date in 1283, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, became the first person to be executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered. What a lovely thing to be remembered for. Also, extra points if you can pronounce his name. I sure can’t. It was on this date in 1849 that Edgar Allan Poe was found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore. It was the last time he was seen in public before his death. In 1863, the last Thursday in November was declared to be Thanksgiving Day, by President Lincoln. In 1955, the Mickey Mouse Club debuted on ABC. In 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

And, in 1951, on October 3, this happened:

Today’s birthdays include James Herriot (English veterinarian and author), Gore Vidal (American author), Eddie Cochran (American guitarist/singer), Chubby Checker (American singer/songwriter), Lindsey Buckingham (American guitarist/singer, Fleetwood Mac), Dave Winfield (American baseball player), Stevie Ray Vaughan (American blues musician, Dallas, Texas), Dennis Eckersley (American baseball player), Tommy Lee (American drummer), Clive Owen (British actor), Gwen Stefani (American musician), Lena Headey (British actress), Neve Campbell (Canadian actress), Seann William Scott (American actor), and Shannyn Sossamon (American actress).

Eddie Cochran was born on this date in 1938. He became a teen rockabilly sensation. Tragically, he died at the age of 21, in a taxi accident, while traveling through Chippenham, Wiltshier, UK. According to reports, he threw himself over his fiance, songwriter Sharon Sheeley, to shield her. She and Gene Vincent, who was also riding in the cab, survived the accident. Here is a clip of his song “Summertime Blues.”

I can’t not mention Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was born on this date in 1954, Dallas, Texas. Another music legend whose life was cut short, Vaughan died in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990, at the age of 35. Here is a live clip of his song “Rude Mood.”

Okay, one more. Lindsey Buckingham, sometimes lead guitar player for Fleetwood Mac, turns 66 today. Here is a live clip of “Gold Dust Woman.”

St. Francis of Assisi, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, Myles Standish, John Heisman, Woody Guthrie, Vince DiMaggio, Roddy McDowall, Janet Leigh, and Ronnie Barker are among notable deaths on this date.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Heart Aflame)

They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons;
they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.
Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.
Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage;
he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.

Psalm 106:37-42

This is a dark and dreadful example of how far men can go when left to their own desires.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

I’m continuing through the section on “Fixing the Mind,” looking at some other methods of meditating on Scripture. There are more questions that could be asked of a particular passage, more in the vein of application. We might look into a passage, looking for “any personal examples to emulate or avoid, for any commands to obey, for any promises to claim, and for any warnings to heed.” For this example, Timothy Keller goes to John 1:29-42.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

There is an example to emulate, here, as we see John the Baptizer with his own disciples. He knows that following Jesus is more important than following him, so he points his own disciples to the “Lamb of God.” In like manner, we should be careful that we do not make nay human relationships more important than our relationship with Christ. Nor should we attempt to create disciples of ourselves, but disciples who follow Christ.

There is a command to “Behold;” “to believe and embrace Jesus as the Lamb of God.”

There is a promise, as Jesus tells those who have just begun to follow him, “Come and you will see.” When we follow Christ, it is a process, and he does not reveal everything to us at once. “Jesus calls us to come now and commit to him and as time goes on we will ‘see’ and learn wondrous things.”

We could even see a “mild warning implied here.” When we do come to Jesus and become his disciples, our lives are disrupted and things change. Jesus even changed Simon’s name to “Cephas (which means Peter).”

There are some other approaches that can be used with shorter passages, even single verses. One is to take a verse and work through it, emphasizing each word of the text. “Ask what each word uniquely contributes to the meaning of the text, or what meaning would be lost from the statement if that particular word were removed.” The example verse is Mark 1:17, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Emphasize “follow” and see that we are to do more than just be students, absorbing information. We are to emulate Christ, aligning our lives with him. Emphasize “me” and see that Jesus is very specific about who were are to follow. We are not to simply obey rules or commands, but to follow and obey Jesus. Emphasize “will” and we see that this is a promise, not just a possibility. Jesus does not say he “might” make us fishers of men. He promises that he will change and re-make us. This goes back, though, to the fact that we are involved in a journey that is a process. It will not happen suddenly, or overnight. So from this, you can get the idea of how to meditate through a verse, emphasizing individual words. This has actually been a favorite approach of mine.

You can also take a verse and paraphrase it, re-stating it in your own words. This might help you “think more deeply about the text than you would otherwise.” It might also cause you to realized you don’t know what a word means, which might lead you to further study.

And, finally, another way to meditate is to simply memorize a verse or passage. This might take more time and energy, but, in the long run, would be well worth it. “This tool of learning was a time-honored method used far more in the past than it is today, and that is a pity.” Of course, in this day of technology, where you can have the entire Bible at your fingertips in an app on your phone, memorization seems almost unnecessary. But one real benefit of it is that “memorized texts often come to you spontaneously during the day when you realize how it applies directly to a particular situation you are in.” Memorizing something has also been referred to as “learning by heart,” which will lead into the second concept of meditation, which I will probably look at tomorrow, “Inclining the Heart.”

Father, lead me toward better meditation in my life. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth. May your Spirit lead me into a better understanding of your Word and how it applies to my life. Help me to do this by fixing my mind on your truth and bringing it down into my heart.

I pray for this day, that our errands will be done with your joy driving us. May our time together with fellow believers be sweet, this evening, and may your name be lifted high as we pray and worship together.

Come, Lord Jesus.

I hope that some might find these tips on meditation useful. I certainly have.

And now . . .

Grace and peace, friends.

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