CHRISTIAN MEDITATION – PART 2 – THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you

Last time I wrote about three of many attributes of God, and they were; Omniscience, Holiness, and Wisdom. Now before we continue with part two, I wanted to point out that one of the greatest attributes of God that many people go to first, is love. However, no matter how great we think love is, it would not be possible for God to have a impartial, justified, fair, and true love for His creation without His Holiness, His Righteousness, His Justice, Hi Mercy, His Grace. Dare I say that God’s greatest attribute summed up throughout all of the Bible is His Holiness, yet equally intertwined throughout all of His other attributes, being the foundation for all others if you will. And without that foundation, that perfect standard above and apart from all others, well, that would not be much of a God at all now, would it.

4. Meditate on the POWER of God – This power is visible in the creation, and yet, many want to deny this. You know, the whole “Big Bang Theory (and no, not the T.V. show)”! Ask a stranger or a person you hardly know sometime, in all seriousness, where a tree came from. Some may head right for the evolution argument, others never really thought much about it, and I bet many of us have never even pondered it. Or how about our best friend Fido, or other 4 legged furry friend(s)? You cannot tell me that without a creator, a designer, a master planner who not only put forth everything from nothing and hangs it on the earth (Job 26:7), is not Sovereignly controlling His creation for His glory. If not, there is no powerful God. Yet there is!

Nothing can stand before a creating power; he needs no pre-existent matter to work upon; he needs no instruments to work with; he can work without tools; he is the one before whom the angels veil their faces, and the kings of the earth cast their crowns. He is the one that “shakes the earth out of its place,” Job 9.6. An earthquake makes the earth tremble upon her pillars; but God can shake it out of its place. God can with a word unpin the wheels, and break the axletree1 of the creation. He can suspend natural agents, stop the lion’s mouth, cause the sun to stand still, make the fire not burn. Xerxes, the Persian monarch, threw fetters into the sea, as if he would have chained up the unruly waters; but when God commands, “the winds and sea obey him,” Mat. 8.27. If he speaks the word, an army of stars appears, Jdg. 5.20. If he stamps with his foot, a host of angels are quickly in battle array; if he lifts up an ensign and but whistles, his very enemies shall be up in arms to revenge his quarrel, Isa. 5.26. Who would provoke this God?! “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” Heb. 10.31. Like a lion “he tears in pieces the adversaries,” Psa. 50.22. O meditate on this power of God! t would be a great buttress to faith. A Christian’s faith may anchor safely upon the rock of God’s power. Maybe a more indepth look and commentary on this subject sometime, but I do believe many have a lack of faith or falter in what little they have, because they do not see God as God Almighty, all powerful, basically not only do not believe what little they know, but do not deeply know His attributes. Faith triumphs in the power of God: out of this strong comes forth sweetness. Abraham, meditating on God’s power, did not stagger through unbelief, Rom. 4.20. He knew God could perform his promise, even contrary to the usual course of nature.

5. Meditate on the MERCY of God. Mercy is an innate disposition in God to do good, just as the sun has an innate property to shine: “You Lord are good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all those who call upon you,” Psa. 86.5. God’s mercy is so sweet, that it makes all his other attributes sweet. Holiness without mercy, and justice without mercy, would be dreadful. Though the children of God are under some clouds of affliction, yet the sun of mercy is never completely out of sight. God’s justice reaches to the clouds; his mercy reaches above the clouds. How slow is God to anger! Justice goes by foot, Gen. 18.21, but mercy has wings, Psa. 57.1. The sword of justice often lies a long time in the scabbard and rusts, till sin draws it out and whets it against a nation. Often meditate upon the mercy of God.

The effect of meditating on the mercy of God, we understand it would be the powerful loadstone to draw sinners to God by repentance. God is the Father of mercies,” 2Cor. 1.3. Mercy as naturally issues from him, as the child issues from the parent. God “delights in mercy,” Micah 7.18. Mercy finds out the worst sinner; mercy comes not only with salvation in its hand, but with healing under its wings. Mercy melts a sinner into tears. A prisoner reading a pardon sent to him from the king, fell weeping, and burst out into these words: “A pardon has done that which death could not do; it has made my heart relent.”

6. Meditate on the TRUTH of God.

Truth is one of the easiest, yet at the same time most difficult and complex words to understand these days. Why? Well, because there are two man camps (groups of people) who do not view truth in the same way. You have those who believe in absolute truth, and those who believe in relative (relativism) truth. An absolute truth is something that is true at all times and places, and is always true no matter the circumstances. For example, water is wet. Now it does not matter the kind of water, fresh water, spring water, river water, ocean water, etc. water is wet. That statement is an absolute truth. Now say you froze that water, is it still water? When you go to the drive through, do you say please put some frozen water in my drink? No, it is now ice, yet still water, just in a different state. Now the waters of truth just became kind of muddied (pun intended) didn’t they. A person who believes in relative truth does not always see truth in the same way, and when it comes to Christianity, is very dangerous in their thinking and philosophy much of the time.

Now let’s use some scripture for text proofs and these ways of thinking.

Numbers 23:19 – God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Titus 1:2 – In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.

Hebrews 6:18 – So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

Now what is the one word that these three verses share? I will give you a hint; it starts with an l and ends with an e. God CANNOT lie! As Christians we either believe that to be 100% true or we don’t, and sadly many times in my life and walk with God I did not believe that way, and that is sin! It is not that I thought God to be a liar, but I had major trust issues because many times we think God to be like us, and if that were the case, we prepare ourselves the best we can to be let down, disappointed, rejected, shunned, etc.

Let us look at one more scripture before we close to get our thinking as a Christian who knows and believes absolute truth. Isaiah 57:7-9:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Now I am not going to break this down, but rather have you, the reader, to use the points of these devotionals to learn how to meditate. But before we close, I also want to use these words from Thomas Watson’s book The Saints Spiritual Delight, as that is where these ideas of truth are coming from.

“Mercy makes the promise, and truth performs it: “I will not allow my faithfulness to fail,” Psa. 89.33. God might as well deny himself as to deny his word. He is “abundant in truth,” Exo. 34.6. What is that? If God has made a promise of mercy to his people, he will be so far from coming short of his word, that he will be better than his word. God often does more than he has said, never less; he often shoots beyond the mark of the promise he has set, never short of it. He is abundant in truth. God may sometimes delay a promise, but he will not deny it. The promise may lie a long time, like seed hidden underground; but all the while it is ripening. The promise of Israel’s deliverance lay four hundred and thirty years hidden underground; but when the time had come, the promise did not go a day beyond its reckoning, Exo. 12.41. “The strength of Israel will not lie,” 1Sam. 15.29. Meditate on the truth of God.

The effects of meditating on the truth of God:

1. It would be a pillar of support for faith. The world hangs upon God’s power, and faith hangs upon his truth.

2. It would make us ambitious to imitate Him. We should be true in our words, true in our dealings. Pythagoras was asked, “What makes men like God?” He answered, “When they speak truth.”

Reader, if you do not fully and completely trust God, repent. I know it’s hard, because we want control, and when we do that, we want to be our own god, and that is sin.

Proverbs 3:5-6 –
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

#ToGodBeTheGlory

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION – THE GREAT DUTY

Although the Christian is thus free from all works, he ought in this liberty to empty himself, take upon himself the form of a servant, be made in the likeness of men, be found in human form, and to serve, help and in every way deal with his neighbor as he sees that God through Christ has dealt and still deals with him.

Martin Luther

Yesterday I wrote about the upcoming theme for the next couple of weeks, and that is the important of one of the greatest and most helpful duties to the Christian, and that is the various purposes on meditating on God’s Word. I also believe it is very important to do so in today’s day and age of the overly busy, instantaneous lifestyles many live today. There are very few that study deeply, and hopefully meditating on God’s Word will draw the church back to studying God’s Word and being about the Father’s business.

When we think of the word duty, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For some it might mean work, to others a form a service, still to someone else it may seem like something forced or demanded. When it comes to Christian duty, it is a good work, yes, and it is a form of service or of worship of God as the end goal. However, God does not want anything done out of force or reluctance.

No, He wants it done out of love, appreciation for what He has done in the sinners life, and growing them to be more like Christ Himself, to be merciful, gracious, kind, loving, giving, selfless, sacrificial, the very same attributes He showed towards us.

Now there are many duties in the Bible, and it is good for us to know these things. Some are very obvious, like in chapter 3 of Colossians where we have two main duties that are very obvious; put on our new (saved) self, and rules (duties) for Christian household living. Now these things are not going to come natural at first, and that is why we need to be about our good works (duties) daily, and not just act Christian (which is actually being a hypocrite) when we are around other Christians, the church, or some event. This is the main reason to meditate on the scriptures, that it becomes natural and we walk by the Spirit not by the flesh.

We also need to keep in mind as we are doing our Christian duties, we are NOT to show that we are better, more perfected, self-exalting ourselves at our tasks, thinking we are better or more special than others. We are not doing this for our glory, but for His. We are doing these things for we are to be obedient, yet humble, for He says “Be holy as I am holy”, and holiness is what we grow in and is the end goal as well. However, the only way we can get there is submitting our lives to the trusting care and guidance of God through His Word daily and the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells inside every believer.

As I said in yesterdays devotional. much of this on Christian meditation is going to come from Thomas Watson’s book titled The Saints Spiritual Delight. When the author open the introduction to meditation he says thus:

A Christian enters into meditation, as a man enters into the bath: so that he may be healed. Meditation heals the soul of its deadness and earthliness; but more of this afterwards.

That is why I chose one of my favorite scriptures in Isaiah 53:5, for there is no greater bath, no greater healing, than in the laver of blood at the cross of Calvary!

Pastor Watson then gives the two positions of meditation; it is either imposed or opposed.

  1. Meditation is a duty imposed – “Meditation is not arbitrary. The same God who bid us to believe, has bid us to meditate.” Joshua 1:8-9 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  These words, though spoken to the person of Joshua, concern everyone; just as the promise made to Joshua concerned all believers (Jos. 1.5 compared with Heb. 13.5).2 So this precept made to the person of Joshua, you shall meditate in this book of the law, takes in all Christians. It is the part of a hypocrite to enlarge the promise, and to narrow the precept; you shall meditate in this book of the law; the word you is indefinite, and reaches every Christian; as God’s word directs, so his will must enforce obedience to it.
  2. Meditation is a duty opposed – “We may conclude it is a good duty, because it is against the stream of corrupt nature. We shall find, naturally, a strange averseness to meditation. We are swift to hear, but slow to meditate.” Galatians 5:16-17 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

    Ephesians 6:11-13 – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

To think about the world, if it were all day long, is delightful; but as for holy meditation, how the heart wrangles and quarrels with this duty! Now truly, no other reason is needed to prove a duty is good, than the reluctance of a carnal heart to do it. For instance, in the duty of self-denial: “Let a man deny himself,” Mat. 16.24. Self-denial is as necessary as heaven; but what disputes are raised in the heart against it! What! To deny my reason, and become a fool that I may be wise? No, not only deny my reason, but my righteousness! What! To cast it overboard, and swim to heaven upon the plank of Christ’s merits? This is such a duty that the heart naturally opposes and enters its dissent against it. Yet this is an argument to prove that the duty of self-denial is good. It is just so with this duty of meditation: the secret antipathy the heart has against it, shows it to be good; and this is reason enough to enforce meditation.

Like myself, I hope this excites you to go deeper into the Word of God, to meditate on all things that He has given us to know Him, to worship Him, to praise and glorify Him. In doing so, may it also help us to crucify the flesh, to repent of our many sins, to seek His grace and growth in holiness that only the Holy Spirit can work in us! Yes, we have duties to do, but it is God who does ALL of the sanctifying work in us!

#ToGodBeTheGlory

WRITE THEM!

History is a story written by the finger of God.

C.S. Lewis

Recently I turned a year older and with that more mature age also comes more opportunities to become more forgetful or absentminded. One of the things we can learn to do to help overcome being forgetful, is to write things down. Even throughout the Bible God has commanded people to write things down, so they would not forget. Can you imagine what kind of a mess the Bible might be today if man did not obey God and write it down, and it had been spoken by mouth only all of these years, there would be quite a bit forgotten and left out.

King Solomon, the wisest human king in all of the Bible even taught his children (as God did us by having the Holy Spirit inspire certain men to write down His Word) by writing it for their generations to know. They did not yet have the whole complete story of God as we do today, and we should be thankful and grateful to God that we do!

Writing things down is only the beginning. We must also meditate upon (meaning giving much thought) what we have read and many times it is more valuable and profitable to read smaller portions of scriptures that to overindulge, especially if we are not writing it down. Writing it down also gives us references points to look back to. Maybe it was a sin that God gave victory over, maybe it was spiritual growth, maybe a word of comfort or encouragement that got us through some rough times. But again… WRITE IT DOWN!

Proverbs 3:1-3 – My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.

If we read, meditate, think about God writing this to us, when we take our time, it is a powerful Word and promise. Where there are commas, we should take as much time as needed to let God speak to us. So for example, verse 1- My son, (pause). If we have read our Bibles much, studied, prayed, meditated much could be written about these two words alone. For me, I hear God telling me, His adopted child, these exact words of wisdom that He gave Solomon to his children. My son shows that He possesses me as His! I now have a relationship where I can trust Him who has called me His own, and the greatest promise that comes to mind quickly is Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” NEVER, let ne be more clear on that N-E-V-E-R EVER will He leave or forsake those who are His! MAN what a promise!

Next part of the verse he tells his child what to do. One thing that just came to mind (thank you Father) and most of us probably do not even think about is actions or lack there of. We who have children, and have asked them to clean their rooms or some other chore, what usually happens? Okay, in a minute, or I’ll do it later, okay. Then they forget! When we are to do something there is always an outcome, good or bad. Ever experienced someone’s wrath when you were supposed to get milk on the way home and no one had any for breakfast the next morning? Yeah, me neither 😉 But the author (which by the way is ALWAYS the Holy Spirit) says “do not forget my teaching,” (pause again).

If we were to speak this out, would you think any one part be more important than the other? Like DO NOT, forget… or do not FORGET… For stubborn people like myself, this is what I see… DO NOT FORGET MY TEACHING. Oh dear reader, how much do we forget and for so many reasons! I have spoken with my wife numerous times and challenged us both to how much time do we spend with God, individually and collectively? Have you seriously asked yourself that question? I can tell you from YEARS of personal experience, that you will NOT learn from or enjoy God if you DO NOT SPEND TIME WITH HIM! (emphasis added). We are the ones who have forgotten, we are the ones who forsake, not only His commandments, but Him! We treat God like He is some modern convenience that we can pickup and put down whenever we need Him, but for many Christians it is only when they are in trouble, or “God, do this for me and I promise…”, or maybe to finally win that multi-million lottery. If the Word of God does not satisfy you, nothing meaningful and long term ever will either. For the things of this world come and go, moth and rust destroy, and grow strangely dim. Yet, God… everything about Him is as the day when He first created, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

As if all of this is not enough in the first sentence, God uses a conjunction (not sure what He calls them, but that is what our English teachers taught us 😉 God says, BUT (which means to pay attention as I am joining it to something of importance) let your heart keep my commandments. Again, depends on where you might need to place some emphasis on the word(s) to drive the point home. Again we can see the importance of an intimate relationship when the writer uses words like heart and keep, and what are we to keep? His commandments! Now stay with me a little longer as we are just about done. I just want to stress the importance of the heart metaphorically. In Hebrews 8:10 it is written – For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. You might be thinking “Well that’s all well and good, but that is a promise for the house of Israel.” Not so fast… It very well be a promise for Israel, but we must not “forget” the other promise, “never will I leave you or forsake you.” God repeats this same promise again in Hebrews 10:16, but let us look at the entire context starting at verse 9 and ending at 17. Hebrews 10:9-17

Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Now we do not have time to unpack all of this together, and have showed you some basic tools on getting to the meat of what God is telling and showing us, but we have to be a part of the relationship, and must be our first priority! If not, our other relationships will fail as well, and that should not be too hard to notice, nor where the problem lies… with us. Let us repent of our sins on how we have treated God, seek His forgiveness, and make it the TOP priority of having Him in our lives in ALL things. Why? Go back to the top of our opening scriptures and look at some more of His promises to His children 😉

#ToGodBeTheGlory