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Meditate – percolate (3)

10 January 2023 ‘You shall meditate on it day and night.’ Joshua 1:8 NASB

Bible meditation has fallen out of favour. Why? Because we live in an instantaneous society, and a preoccupied society. We have so much stuff coming at us from TV, mobile phones, email, texts, snail mail, satellite links, cable news feeds, and podcasts that we hardly have a moment to react – much less reflect. Get real! You can’t ‘download’ spiritual maturity by hitting a few keys on a computer. That’s why the Scriptures speak so often about meditation. God, the author of the Bible, gave Joshua the formula for succeeding in your career and prospering in whatever you put your hand to: ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth [speak the Scriptures every chance you get], but you shall meditate on it [when?] day and night, so that you may be careful to do [not just know, but do!] according to all [you can’t pick and choose] that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success’ (v. 8 NASB). Note the words ‘you will make’. To succeed in life, you must do something. Do what? Meditate in God’s Word! How often? ‘Day and night.’ So what portion of Scripture were you thinking about this morning as you started your day? Or while driving to and from work? For that matter, when was the last time you consciously reflected on any Bible truth or principle? If you can’t remember, start making some changes right away. Paul told Timothy: ‘Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all’ (1 Timothy 4:15 NKJV). And that’s still the rule!
Wednesday 11 January
‘Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97 NKJV
Meditate – percolate (4)
Bible meditation is different from meditation as we know it in our society. Meditation, as popularly taught by the Eastern philosophies, tells you to empty your mind. That’s the exact opposite of what the Scriptures say! Bible meditation means filling your mind with the truth God has revealed. David was a king. Imagine the pressures and problems, demands and decisions he faced each day. Yet he said, ‘Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.’ Have you observed that we waste an awful lot of time doing mundane things such as holding on the phone, queueing, driving to work? In big cities, people often spend an hour or more going to work, and the same coming home. That’s ten hours a week. Forty hours a month. Four hundred and eighty hours a year. That’s an extraordinary amount of time! The question is, what are you doing with your mind during this time? Just driving along with your mind in neutral? Or listening to the radio or a CD or music on your smartphone? Or getting angry at all the drivers around you? What a great time to get your mind in gear! What an opportunity to grow spiritually and mentally! What exercise does for your body, meditation does for your soul. The Bible says, ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he’ (Proverbs 23:7 NKJV). A sign on someone’s office wall read: ‘You are not what you think you are. But what you think – you are!’ If you want your life to be different, start thinking different thoughts; meditate on God’s Word!
Thursday 12 January
‘The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.’ Psalm 19:8 NKJV
Meditate – percolate (5)
‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes…More to be desired are they than gold…sweeter also than honey…by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer’ (vv. 7-8, 10-14 NKJV). This prayer shows that the psalmist regarded meditation as an utter necessity to his spiritual life. And if that was true for him in his day, how much more vital is it for you today! You need to bathe your mind each day in the waters of God’s Word so that your words and your thoughts are pleasing in His sight. Use your time – the start of the day, at coffee break, during your lunchtime, riding home from work, before falling asleep at night – to reflect upon the truth of God’s Word. The greatest changes in your life will come through the process of meditating on the Scriptures – just letting the Word of God filter and percolate through your mind and into your life. First-class Bible reading calls not for snapshots but for timed exposures.
Friday 13 January
‘Do not think of yourself more highly than you should.’ Romans 12:3 GNT
Don’t be self-righteous
‘Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: “I thank you, God, that I am not like other people – cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.” But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted’ (Luke 18:10-14 NLT). The lesson in this story is, God has more tolerance for an honest sinner than a self-righteous Christian. When the Pharisee was congratulating himself for the sins he didn’t commit – cheating, adultery, etc. – he was guilty of the sin of spiritual pride. Question: what good behaviour is a source of pride to you? Do you measure others by your performance and mark their scorecard accordingly? The only performance that makes any of us acceptable to God is based on Christ’s performance on the cross. ‘God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT). The righteousness that saves us is imputed – not earned. So don’t be self-righteous!

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