Meditation Aims At the Heart

Good morning. It is Monday, October 5, 2015. Only four more days to Playa del Carmen.

Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is amphigory. This is a noun, meaning, “a meaningless or nonsensical piece of writing, especially one intended as a parody.” Let’s hope this blog never turns into an amphigory.

Today is World Teachers Day. I can’t tell you how much teachers mean to me. I have known some great ones, in my life. Sure, there have been some not-so-great ones, but the value of the ones who obviously love teaching is indescribable. Some of the ones who had the most impact on me, Mrs. Oliver (I never knew her first name), fourth grade, Curtis Scharnberg, High School chemistry teacher, Larry Harrington, High School math teacher, Pat Harrington, High School typing teacher, Norman Deisher, Junior High and High School band director, James Keene, college band director. I’m sure there are others, but these are some who influenced my life greatly. There are a few who have been grea in the lives of our children, Susie Hale and Julie Brancadora, to name two. But to all of you who are in the business of teaching because you love to impart knowledge to your students, I say a hearty
Thank you

We had a great day, yesterday. We had a nice lunch with Rachel and Justin, along with some great conversation. Then we spent the afternoon watching episodes of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on You Tube. I really like that show, but we don’t have HBO, so I don’t get to watch it in real time. For a comedian, John Oliver makes some very good points, while making us laugh about it, at the same time.

Right at the end of our time together, we had the pleasure of watching the last three outs of the last baseball game of the regular season, in which the Rangers finally clinched the American League West pennant. They did it by a healthy score of 9-2, but after Saturday’s debacle, I was nervous until the last out was made. The Rangers will play the Blue Jays, beginning on Thursday. The AL Wild Card game will be tomorrow, between Houston and New York, in New York. The NL game will be Wednesday, between Pittsburgh and Chicago, in Pittsburgh. While not really caring that much, I will be pulling for the Cubbies in that game. Of course, I will be rooting for Houston in the AL Wild Card. First because they are from Texas. Second, because they are playing New York.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Heart Aflame)

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.
Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.

Psalm 107:1-19

“It has been customary in all ages for heathens, who look upon religion as a fable, when compelled by stern necessity, to call upon God for help. . . . The Spirit of God, therefore, here narrates what frequently takes place, namely, that persons destitute of piety and faith, and who have no desire to have anything to do with God, if placed in perilous circumstances, are constrained by natural instinct, and without any proper conception of what they are doing to call on the name of God.” (p 279)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

As we continue looking at engaging the heart in meditation, Timothy Keller looks at another way of seeing how truth can change us. Yesterday, Martin Luther had us looking deeply at the text for ways that it might relate to us. Today, Keller speaks of looking more deeply at ourselves as we consider the biblical text. I might ask myself what wrong thinking might result if this particular truth is neglected, or what kind of out-of-control feelings might result when the truth is not fully embraced. “What kind of sins or wrongdoing might result from a failure to grasp and appreciate this truth?”

It is also important to look at the timing. What is God trying to teach me today? “What is going on now in your life to which this would be relevant?”

Needless to say, these probing questions, while bringing inspiration, are frequently quite unpleasant. It is not fun examining a life based on these concepts, because the truth at hand might convict, humble, or trouble us. On the other hand, they might calm, comfort, excite, or even fill with unspeakable joy. “Meditation aims here–at the heart.”

“All that we know theologically must be ‘accessed’ by our heart with all the joy, peace, self-control, love, durability, patience, and graciousness that it should produce in a human being.”

Take my heart, Father, and make it yours. By the use of study and meditation, may I fix my mind and thoughts on you and your truths, and then bring them down into my heart, where they may take root and have permanent impact on my daily living.

I pray for this day, that our travel to and from work will be safe. May our work day go smoothly, and may we find ourselves experiencing your joy, regardless of what circumstances befall us. May your grace rain down on the rest of our family. I give you thanks and praise for the good time that we had with Rachel and Justin yesterday. I pray for our trip coming up next weekend, that all will be safe and smooth as we celebrate the thirty years you have given us together.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Meditation aims at the heart. It is not to “empty the mind,” rather to validate what has gone into the mind by burying it in the heart.

Grace and peace, friends.

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