Tag Archives: Meditation

New Blog Coming

Hello to all my fellow bloggers. Many of you know that I have been working on a book that is entitled The A.S.K. Principle. I blogged about this topic extensively a few months ago and I’m going to bring it back on a separate blog. I’m doing this because the book is now in full swing and is at the editors at this time. The publisher that I’m working through also suggest that I blog about the book to enable everyone to be more informed.

I will be sharing with you thoughts behind the book, how the publishing is progressing and excerpts from the book. There will also be posts about prayer and answered prayers. I pray this will be a blessing to you and will build your faith as we go along.

I have no plan as to what days or how often I will be posting on this site. Most of the posts will probably be simple and not very long so I might update it more often. In any case I hope you will follow along as we take a closer look at prayer and how it works in our lives.

I thank you for following this site and I will continue to post here until we finish our study in Galatians. Then I’m not sure which direction I will take with this blog but you can bet that God will direct me somehow. I wait for him to decide what he wants to do with the maintenance man.

Be blessed my friends

Introduction to Galatians

Our next excursion will be into Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Paul wrote nine different books to the churches and this is one of them. There are actually several churches in the area of Galatia, not just one Church as Ephesians or Colossians are. The churches included in the region of Galatia are Lystra, Iconium, Derby and Pisidia Antioch. Paul visited these churches on his first two missionary journeys, which tells us that he had a close relationship with them.

There’s a lot of dispute over when the letter was actually written. Some feel it was written around 49 A.D., before the Jerusalem Council took place (50 A.D.). They believe Paul wrote it shortly after his second visit to the churches. Others believe it was written between 50 and 60 A.D. There is no argument that Paul wrote the book, as the style and theme of writing is very similar to his other writings

The account of Paul’s first visit to Galatia can found beginning in Acts 13:14 and running through Acts 14:24 Barnabas was with Paul on this visit. They started in Antioch Pisidia, where Paul was asked to speak in the synagogue and was well received. He then spoke to a group of Gentiles. The following Sabbath a large crowd of Gentiles gathered to hear them and the Jews turned against Paul and Barnabas. They ran them out of town, much to the dismay of the Gentiles.

They next came to Iconium (Acts 13:52). They spoke to the crowds, both Jew and Gentile, for many weeks. The unbelievers in the region eventually turned against them and plotted to stone them, so Paul and Barnabas left for Lystra and Derby.

While preaching in Lystra, Paul prayed for a paralytic man, and when the man was healed, the people started calling Paul and Barnabas gods and worshipped them. Paul put a quick stop to that. But Jews from Pisidia Antioch and Iconium came and persuaded the people against Paul. He was stoned until they thought he was dead and thrown out of the city. But he was not dead. He came back, picked up Barnabas and made one last tour through the 4 cities before departing Galatia. The people had heard the Gospel and many had believed. The church had begun in the region.

In chapter 16 we see Paul returning to Galatia and picking up Timothy along the way. This is when Paul saw the problems that had crept up from false teaching in the churches there, and prompted him to write this letter. Paul’s third missionary trip went by these cities, but there is no mention in scripture that he visited the churches on this trip.

This is not one of the prison Epistles as it was written while he was on the road. Most people think he wrote this in Antioch or even in Jerusalem. This is also a letter that Paul says he wrote himself (Gal 6:11). Most of his writings were taken down by scribes that were working with him, so this was a rarity.

The central theme of the letter is justification by faith alone. The main reason it was written was because the Galatians were starting to listen to false doctrine being spread by the Judaizers which we will talk about later. There are many very powerful concepts in this wonderful letter that we will be exploring.

This study will carry a lot of my own personal reflections on the verses that we share each day (hopefully I can do them daily). There will also be scripture references as we go along where I feel it needs a little more background. When we get to the portion on the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) we will be covering each fruit on a separate post. I am unsure at this time how many verses I will take a day – it will depend on the content. Some days I may just talk about one verse other days it maybe 10 to 15. Each day the title of the post will go along with the theme of the selected verses for the day, as our James study did. I know that this study will be a blessing to me, and I hope it is also a blessing to you. I am thrilled that you are coming along on this journey with me and I look forward to your comments and thoughts as we go along.

Be blessed

Establish Your Heart

James 5:8 KJV

Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Does it seem to you as it seems to me, that James is obsessed with patience?  Do you think, as I just thought, that perhaps this is because his brother, Jesus, was very patient with him?  James most likely watched his brother from afar, joining the crowds around Him, but never becoming a follower and never chosen as a disciple.  I wonder how Jesus felt about that?  My guess is that He as not concerned with it.  He made the statement that to follow Him, one must forsake their mother, their brother, their sisters, etc.  James was probably there when He said that, and perhaps was offended.  James did not follow His brother closely, but He finally came to know the Savior under Paul’s ministry, years after Jesus had died.  He then realized how patient Jesus had been with him.  Perhaps this is why James talks about patience so much.  He had quite a lesson in the patience of his brother and his Savior.  He knows that Jesus wants us to have this same patience toward one another.

So how do we learn this type of patience?  James says we must establish our hearts.  This word establish means to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix , strengthen, make firm, to render constant or to confirm.  Those are some strong words, indicating a serious commitment.  How do I get to this point in my life, where my heart is truly established in the things of the Lord?  I wish I had all the answers to that question but perhaps I can offer a few suggestions.

James gives us a couple hints.  One at the end of verse 7, where he says the farmers waited for the former and the latter rain.  The rain is symbolism of the Holy Spirit.  When James speaks of the the latter rain here, he is talking spiritually about the Holy Spirit bringing us truth (July 16:13) from the word and bringing that truth to our remembrance (John 14:26) as we need it so we can rightfully divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).  As we rely more and more on the Holy Spirit to do this work, we rely less on our own intellect, our own wisdom.  Our own wisdom is foolishness to God (I Cor 3:19).  I have heard about more “intellectual” groups who have come up with the most absurd theories on the life of Christ.  Many of our main line denominational leadership is straying farther and farther from the truth of the bible.  These are intellectuals relying on human wisdom.  Their hearts are not established in Christ, in the word.  So step #1 is to rely on the Holy Spirit, listen to Him, and learn the truth of God’ word.

Perhaps that’s not as clear to some as it has to be.  Here is  good way to go about allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you the truth contained in the word.  Read Psalm 1.  Then meditate on it for a while.  By meditating on it, I mean just spend some time thinking about the truths contained in it.  Think about the words and how they are interconnected, and how the verses associate with each other.  What is the common thread in this Psalm?  Now write out each verse in your own words.  Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words as best you can.  Write from the depths of your heart how these verses, one at a time, speaks to you.  Your own words, from your own heart.  How does it apply to you?  How does this effect you?  What do you need to change to fulfill the verse, or to stop the behavior that matches the verse if that be the case?  Do you see yourself being able to fulfill the positives and releasing the negatives?  These steps are all art of meditating on the word.

As you go through scripture this way, you will be fully examining every aspect, and you will find that this verse will become more established in your heart.  The Holy Spirit will be with you as you answer these questions and will help you to write out where you stand on the issues pertaining to what God wants from you in this scripture.  As you do more and more scripture this what, you will become more established in the word.  Let the latter rain flow freely in your life!

The second clue is what James says next in this verse.  The coming of the Lord draweth nigh.  If James believed this then, how much more do the signs of the times point to this today?  We must become more aware of this truth, and draw closer to Him than ever before.  Jesus said this in Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Are we doing His will?  Are we established enough to know what His will for our lives is?  I can tell you this much about knowing what God’s will is for your life.  It is following His guidance day in and day out.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us in every situation.  Having the faith and patience to endure any trial.  Speaking kindly to all, not being anxious about tomorrow,  displaying the love of I Cor 13 – the list goes on and on.  We need to strive daily to fulfill these words.  And when we don’t we need to repent.

David was called a man after God’s own heart.  Why?  He committed adultery,  had a man killed so he could take the mans wife, could not control his kids, disobeyed God several times, and was a renegade hunted by King Saul.  How is this a man after God’s own heart?  It’s because he always repented and placed himself in God’s hands when he did wrong.  He always took his misery and wore it on his sleeve, bringing it to God.  A repentant heart is what God desires from us (Psalm 51:17), before works, or praise (Matt 5:24), or any other thing.  If we are not walking in repentance on a daily basis, we need to have God search our hearts more often (Psalm 139:23-24).  It is then we will see our need.

If you would like to embark on a journey to a repentant heart, I would like to recommend a truly compelling, 24 week daily bible study Io have been through a couple times.  It has changed me both times and drawn me closer to God.  It is called “The Walk of Repentance” by Steve Gallagher and can be found on Amazon.  It will challenge you, but it will also establish the word in your heart trough the principles outlined above.

Be blessed!

Patience revisited

James 5:7 KJV

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

I live in Iowa. For those of you who don’t know Iowa is a huge farming state. Our farmers produce more corn and soybeans than any other state in the country. We are the third largest farm economy in the country. We are proud of our farmers and our state would not survive if something happened to the farm economy.

I have grown to admire farmers very much. Some people think they only work to plant and harvest but when those two things aren’t going on they are always busy working on machinery to make sure it’s ready for the next phase. But nothing is more impressive then the fact that they have the patience to wait for a crop.

In the fall, after harvest, many actually start preparations for the next spring.  They till the soil and put fertilizer on so it sets in during the fall and winter, before the frost sets in.  a lot of farmers are now using manure from chicken and hog farms (we are also #1 in both of those categories). In the spring, once the frost is out and the ground temperatures are above 50, they put tens of thousands of dollars into the ground that is prepared ahead of time. Of course, all is dependent on the spring rains.  It often gets to wet at times and delays planting.

There’s also money for herbicides and pesticides for some of them. All of this money is usually borrowed from the bank in hopes that there will be a harvest. As the season goes on there’s nothing more thrilling to me in the spring then you start to see those little buds start to pop out of the ground. You drive down the road and for miles and miles and miles all you see is straight rows of these little green things popping out of the ground. Watching them grow is nothing short of a miracle.

And they just have to trust God and be patient until the harvest is ready.  They need timely rains, about an inch a week.  No strong winds are needed, or it can knock over the corn crops.  Hail and tornadoes can stay away!  Temperatures have to stay warm enough – corn loves hot and humid!. But the farmer waits and trusts God will bring what is necessary, and in the fall he is rewarded most of the time with a crop that will pay the bills.

James says that we need to be patient like that farmer. We’ve talked extensively about patience before.  It is an attribute that is highly admired by God in my opinion. When we can sit back and not worry about when we are going to be healed or when that financial blessing is going to come or when that enemy is going to walk away, and we can simply trust God to do it at the right time, the peace and the joy of the Lord will be there for us just waiting. We will never have to wonder if God is going to come through because we’ll know he will. We will never have to wonder if we are walking in God’s plan because we will know that we are despite the things that come our way. My job is to just keep moving forward and go through the circumstances that come into my life while trusting the Lord and having the patience to wait it out until God is ready to relieve me.

I read a Blog several days ago that talked about the fact that this person had never prayed for patience because she had always been told that praying for patience will bring trials. She said she already had enough trials in their life and didn’t want to bring on more. I couldn’t help but think how desperately this person needed to pray for patience and yet they were afraid because they weren’t sure how it would come out. This kind of fear has no place in the kingdom of God. Praying for patience so we can endure the trials that come our way is one of the basic prayers of our lives. Didn’t the Psalmist say “Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me”. Isn’t that essentially claiming patience to walk through that Valley?

If you gave not been with us through this whole journey in James, please go back to the second post from James 1:2   This post may help you understand why trials are so necessary in our lives, and how we should approach them.  Then go to the next two posts in James 1:3 and James 1:4  These two will help you understand why patience is so important to our Christian life. And patience only comes trough trials.

Patience is also a fruit of the spirit. The way I see fruit of this kind is it the more we give it out the more we receive. The more we give patience to somebody else the more we will have for ourselves. It’s something that we can’t keep inside of us. If I want patience for my own life I need to make sure that I am being patient with those around me. If I can’t be patient with those around me why should God bless me with more patience.

If you find yourself in a place where you are impatient with other people you’ll probably have a tough time being patient with God. This is a good time to pray for patience. Do not fear more trials because if you’re in this situation you probably have plenty already. God will help you through every single time if you’re praying to gain strength to go through a battle. He is the deliverer and the protector and He says if we ask He will give.  One of the biggest blessings He wants us to have is patience.   Ask for it, desire it, seek after it with all your heart.

 

Don’t Sin – Just Do It!

—James 4:16-17 KJV

16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

I don’t know about you but I hear it quite often. “We are going to Disneyland next week on vacation!”  “I have a huge appointment for a job interview tomorrow!”  “In Jesus name I am not going to be sick tomorrow – I’m going to be well and healed!” These words are all based on whether we have tomorrow or not. As my last post said, we cannot count on tomorrow. So all these statements are what James is calling evil. They are boasts on what we are claiming for a day we do not even have for sure yet. It is hard for me to understand why James calls these evil, but here is how I see what James is saying.

We have the attitude that if we make plans, God has to honor them.  My prayers need to be tempered with God’ grace, as do my utterances about my future plans.  I have learned through reading several different authors that the best way to pray is to ask God to give me strength to make it through any sickness that He’s allowed in my life. I should ask God to give me wisdom as I face the appointment that I have tomorrow. AI should ask God for traveling mercy for any place I am planning to go tomorrow. I can never assume that any of these things will actually happen. Because I don’t know if God’s going to give me tomorrow.
I believe James call evil because it is assuming God is going to do something. There are many people who assume that if they ask something of God it is theirs. The name it claim it crowd think that they can ask anything and it will be done for them. After all, Jesus did say if you ask anything in my name I will do it. But I’ve come to understand that asking in His name means asking according to His will and His word.  His will is not always known to us. There are some who would say that the Bible certainly tells us His will and I would agree. And the Bible says that we were healed by Jesus on the cross – I  agree with that also. But there is nothing that says God has to do it today or tomorrow. There’s nothing that gives a timetable of when God has to act. So when we assume that we can tell God what to do just because we pray, that is what James calls evil. Because it is suppossing that we have some kind of authority over God. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Then James says something that can knock us all back. He says that if we know that we should do something good and we don’t do it, that we sin. Most of us think that it takes an action to sin. We have to commit adultery. steal,  lie, gossip, murder or someone else against God’s moral law. That is what we consider sin.  We see sin as  an action that is actually carried out against ourselves or against God or against our fellow human beings. But James takes it a step further.
When we see someone or something that we can do for someone else that would help them in some way and we don’t do it James calls that sin. I believe what he says is true. I believe that God places things in front of us on a regular basis for us to accomplish. Then He whispers in our ear what He wants to us to accomplish. And the fact that it was brought to our attention tells me that we heard that whisper. When we don’t do it it is simple disobedience. And disobedience is sin. If we don’t know about the situation and we don’t do it then we are not held responsible.
It is like the watchman on the wall in Ezekiel 33.   Ezekiel tells us that if somebody knows that trouble is coming and they warn the people, then any blood shed will not be on the watchman’s hand. But if they do not warn the people then the blood will be on their hands. Once again they have been made aware of a situation and they have done what they can to help people understand how the situation is going to affect them. They were obedient to what God asked them to do.
So how do I know if God is asking me to do something? It really is very simple. If it has been brought to my attention that someone is in need of either a physical blessing, or just someone to sit with them and talk, or maybe even a correction that needs to be given to them, and we do not do it then we have missed an opportunity to bless them and that is sin to us. God brings things to our attention on a regular basis. He does this to see if we’re listening and obeying. He gives us opportunity day in and day out to be a blessing to others. Let’s not miss those opportunities.
This verse is not here to place any condemnation on anybody. It is here to make us aware of God’s expectation in our lives. I’m glad James brings this up because it ties in so well with his teaching on the necessity of works in our lives. If it was only grace that saved us this verse would be irrelevant. Works are what shows people our faith and those works need to be done as we further our salvation experience. Remember – we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling? This is how we do that. By taking every opportunity to bless those around us.
Get out there and do all the good you can today because you don’t know if you have tomorrow. As one of my favorite author says “Don’t insult today by looking for a better tomorrow.”
Be blessed