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The Benefits and Dangers of Meditation

SIH STSTA ICONIt seems as if the practice of meditation is becoming more popular with the passing of each generation. And no wonder, the claimed benefits of habitual meditation are far reaching.  They range from alleviating stress to helping to break smoking or drinking habits and to help reduce pain.  It is claimed that “Meditation is wonderful in that it’s free, always available, and amazingly effective in short-term stress reduction and long-term health.”  With claims such as these, is it any wonder that the number of those who practice meditation is growing throughout the world?

Mediation is described as:

“Meditation involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind.”

“Meditation encompasses a variety of practices that are somewhat different, while holding to the basic principles of consideration and quiet thought to bring about a state of rumination.

“Meditation is not a technique but a way of life. Meditation means ‘a cessation of the thought process’ . It describes a state of consciousness, when the mind is free of scattered thoughts and various patterns . The observer (one who is doing meditation) realizes that all the activity of the mind is reduced to one.”

To view the source of the preceding quotes, the results of meditation and the descriptions of meditation please see: http://stress.about.com/od/tensiontamers/p/profilemeditati.htmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditationhttp://www.project-meditation.org/what_is_meditation.html ;

http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/meditation.html

Based upon the above, it seems as if meditation, in some cases, involves “clearing the mind’, while in other cases, it is said to centered on one centralized point of attention, while excluding “scattered thoughts and various patterns”.   There seems to be lacking a uniform, consistent definition for meditation.

Is meditation mentioned in the Bible?  If so, what is the Bible teaching on meditation?

THE SCRIPTURES:

 Gen 24:63 – 63) And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels [were] coming.

Josh 1:8 (KJV) – 8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Ps 1:2 (KJV) – 2) But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Ps 5:1 (KJV) – 1) To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A Psalm of David. Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Ps 19:14 (KJV) – 14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Ps 49:3 (KJV) – 3) My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart [shall be] of understanding.

Ps 63:6 (KJV) – 6) When I remember thee upon my bed, [and] meditate on thee in the [night] watches.

Ps 77:12 (KJV) – 12) I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

Ps 104:34 (KJV) – 34) My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Ps 119:15 (KJV) – 15) I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

Ps 119:23 (KJV) – 23) Princes also did sit [and] speak against me: [but] thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

Ps 119:48 (KJV) – 48) My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

Ps 119:78 (KJV) – 78) Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: [but] I will meditate in thy precepts.

Ps 119:97 (KJV) – 97) MEM. O how love I thy law! it [is] my meditation all the day.

Ps 119:99 (KJV) – 99) I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.

Ps 119:148 (KJV) – 148) Mine eyes prevent the [night] watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Ps 143:5 (KJV) – 5) I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

Isa 33:18 (KJV) – 18) Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the receiver? where [is] he that counted the towers?

Mark 13:11 (KJV) – 11) But when they shall lead [you], and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Luke 21:14 (KJV)- 14) Settle [it] therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

1Tim 4:10-15 (KJV) – 10) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.  11) These things command and teach. 12) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14) Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.15) Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

 THE STUDY:

In the Old Testment, the word “meditate” or “meditation” is translated from three different words.

  1. In Genesis 24:63 the Hebrew word means “to muse” or “to be absorbed in thought, to turn over in the mind”
  2. In all the Psalm 119 references to “meditate” the Hebrew word means “to speak to yourself, to think deeply and thoroughly”
  3. In all the other OT references a different Hebrew word with much the same meaning is used “to mutter, to ponder”

In all the New Testament references, the word “meditate” is translated from a Greek word that means “to revolve in the mind, to look over from every angle”.

What does the definitions for meditate teach us about Biblical meditation?:

  1. In EVERY case, to meditate Biblically involves having our mind thinking about something.  NEVER does the Lord tell us to “empty our mind” or “clear your mind” or “cease your mental processes”. I believe this is a point that needs emphasis… To empty our minds of every thought is a very dangerous practice.  The dark (sinful, demonic) powers of this world seek to inhabit lives that are “emptied” (Matt 12:43-45)  I believe, by emptying one’s mind opens up an opportunity for Satanic oppression of the emptied mind.
  2. Biblical mediation involves active mental concentration and examination.  If you notice in our definitions some of the terms used are “to turn over in the mind”, “to think deeply and thoroughly”, “to ponder, and to look over at every angle”.  None of these words implies a state of rest or cessation of the minds activities.

To summarize our definition study we find that to meditate in a God honoring, Scriptural way involves a mind actively examining and thinking.  NEVER does the Lord advocate a empty or inactive mind.  This type of inactivity, very possibly, can open the door to demonic influence.

Now, let’s continue our study by answering the question what subjects should a Christian be meditating about?

“To meditate” or “meditation” is mentioned in the Bible 21 times… Gen 24:63;  Josh 1:8; Psa 1:2, 5:1, 19:14, 49:3, 63:6, 77:12, 104:34, Psa 119:15, 23, 46, 78, 97,  99, 148, 143:5;  Isa 33:18;  Mark 13:11;  Luke 21:14;  1 Tim 4:15.

If we study these references, in their context we find the following:

  1. Subject of meditation not described: Gen 24:63

(Although we are not told, Isaac was thinking about something!  Based upon the word used for meditation he was “absorbed in thought” over some subject, we are simply not told what that subject is.)

  1. Subject of meditation Word of God: Josh 1:8, Psa 1:2, Psa 119:15, 23, 46, 78, 97, 99, 148
  2. Subject of meditation burdens on heart seeking His mercy: Psa 5:1
  3. Subject of meditation desires of heart being acceptable to the Lord: Psa 19:14,
  4. Subject of meditation spiritual understanding: Psa 49:3
  5. Subject of meditation The Lord and His works: Psa 63:6, Psa 77:12, Psa 104:34, Psa 143:5
  6. Subject of meditation terror for disobedient facing Divine judgment: Isa 33:18
  7. Subject of mediation the gospel message and need for service to Him: 1 Tim 4:10-15
  8. Not to be a subject of meditation: Concern, worry about answering opponents of Lord : Mark 13:11, Luke 21:14

To summarize the above:

  1. As faithful children… we are to be thinking about Our Heavenly Father, His works, and His Word.  They should always be on our minds.   We should seek quiet times when uninterrupted, we can solely place our minds and hearts on Him.
  2. As burdened pilgrims on earth… we should be taking quiet times to concentrate on turning our trials over to Him seeking His presence, mercy and strength.
  3. As faithful servants… we should be meditating on our desires, making sure they are pleasing to Him; we should be examining the understanding He has given to us to enable us to serve Him in greater ways.   Finally, our meditations should also involve an examination of our lives making sure we are leading lives of holiness and separation to His work.
  4. As witnesses of His grace in salvation,… we are to always have the gospel message of grace upon our hearts, remembering what He has done for us and our need to share it with others. We are to lay aside any worry about how to answer those who oppose our message.
  5. As those who have never experienced God’s gracious salvation but are continuing to face His wrath… examine your current condition and allow terror to fill your mind, as you continue to face judgment from Almighty God.  Turn to Him and trust in Him, realizing that the Lord is abundantly gracious, slow to anger and of great mercy.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

The Lord summarize what our daily meditations should be based upon….

May the Lord bless our times of Godly meditation when we turn our minds to these things….

Phil 4:4-9 (KJV)

4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice.

5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.

6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Finding God’s Will For Our Lives Part #3

SIH STSTA ICONThus saith the Lord

Prov 3:6 – “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 In this short 12 word verse, we find one of the most precious promises of the Bible… the promise for the Lord’s leadership and guidance in our lives.   But in this same verse, we find one of the most difficult aspects of the Christians life… following the path the Lord desires for our life.

One of the my most frequently asked questions is “How can I find God’s will for my life?”   In the next 6 blog entries we will be seeing what God’s word teaches us about this important subject…

  1. What is God’s will ?
  2. Not my will, but thine be done.
  3. Thus saith the Lord
  4. Oh what a feeling
  5. Open and shut doors
  6. Summary of the study

In part number 3 of our study lets look at… “Thus saith the Lord”

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ps 19:8 – The statutes of the LORD [are] right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD [is] pure, enlightening the eyes.

Ps 119:105 – NUN. Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Prov 6:23 – For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:

2Tim 3:16-17 – All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

THE STUDY:

King David and his son, King Solomon, understood the important role of God’s Word in our decision making processes…

  1. In Psalm 19:8, David makes it plain that the Word of the Lord “enlightens” the believer’s eyes.  The word “enlightens” refers to “the break of day”.  In other words, without the Bible, we are living our life in darkness (much like the darkness of a cloudy nighttime).  But when we use the Bible in our day to day walk, it is like dawn (when the sun appears and enlightens everything around us) making it easy for us to see clearly and make wise decisions.
  1. In Psalms 119:105 – David makes the same point about God’s Word using the example of a lamp and light that enlightens the paths of life that we are to take.  Again, we see how the Word enlightens us as we make our daily decisions, helping us to understand clearly the will of the Lord.
  1. In Proverbs 6:23 – David’s son, Solomon, also exhibited the importance of God’s Word as a guide for his life.  He said that “the commandment is a lamp and the law is light” basically restating what his father has stated previously. But then he went on to say “reproofs of instruction are the way of life”, again, referring to the Word of God (reproofs of instruction), he said that they are the path that we are to follow in life.

In all of these Old Testament passages the importance of God’s Word in our decision making processes is clearly on display…. However, one of the most important verses on this subject is found in the New Testament, written by the Apostle Paul….

In 2 Tim 3:16-17, we find Paul declaring that the Scriptures are of utmost importance in our decision making, because they are the very word of God handed down to man…

  1. “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God” – here “inspiration” is made up of two Greek root words, one is the word for “God”, the other is a word for “blow” or “breathe”.  This teaches us that the Bible was given to man by God breathing or blowing it to them.  Just like when we speak, we gently blow out, in the same way the Lord literally spoke the words which are recorded in the Bible.  The Scriptures are, literally, the perfect, complete, reliable, words spoken by God to man.
  1. Paul goes further explaining that these words can benefit man in the following ways
    1. For doctrine – teaching, to impart knowledge or facts
    2. for reproof – evidence, to convince the knowledge is true
    3. for correction – to straighten, to restore to proper position
    4. for instruction in righteousness: – tutor, to learn to be aligned with commands of God  The result of endoctrination, conviction, restoration and education in the truth…

i.    perfect – spiritually mature

ii.    throughly furnished unto all good works – completely equipped to perform any work that is pleasing to God.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Please, especially take note of what Paul said at the end of 2 Timothy 3:16-17. In this section of Scripture…. “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  Paul made the statement that God spoke His Word to man, was so that His followers may be spiritually mature, and entirely equipped to perform all works that are pleasing to God.

In other words, His Word was given to those who are saved so that we can, through the Spirit, recognize and then take the paths that He has chosen for us to take in life… by following these paths we perform the ministries (good works) that He has desired for our lives.

Paul, through the inspiration of Almighty God, says that the Word is all that is needed for the Christian to follow God’s will, and live a life that is pleasing to Him.  Paul did not say “the Scriptures plus good feelings”, nor did he say “the Scriptures plus a miraculous sign from heaven (like a lightning bolt striking a fore ordained object)”, nor did he say “the Scriptures plus other men’s approval”.   Absolutely not, Paul made it plain that the Scriptures alone would mature and completely equip a Christian to lead a life that was pleasing to God.

Not only are we to be sure that our desires are in submission to the Lord’s will for our lives (part #2). But also, we are to give our full attention to His Word as the road map guiding us in the many choices of our lives.

In our search for God’s Will to be shown to us in our lives….

Prayer Principle #3 –  We must pray for understanding and application of His Word, through the Spirit, concerning the Lord’s leadership in our lives.

For those who are not saved….

The Lord’s will for the life of those who have never trusted in Christ is clearly declared in 1Tim 2:3-6 …

For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

For more information about salvation and the forgiveness of sins, please refer to my blog page found here: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Ask The Stars… They Will Tell You

SIH STSTA ICONDid you ever wonder what your future held for you?  Have you ever been tempted to go to an astrologer? Have you ever actually given into the temptation and visited an astrologer?

For many Americans, having their horoscope read is an innocent, fun, and in some cases beneficial pursuit. In fact, based on the latest Harris poll, slightly more than ¼ of Americans believe in Astrology.  (You can access this poll at http://www.harrisinteractive.com/vault/Harris_Poll_2009_12_15.pdf)

Just Google “daily horoscope” and you will see over 6 ½ million websites, most of which are offering access to daily horoscopes.   Yes, undoubtedly astrology, horoscopes and other methods of foretelling future events has found a solid foothold in our society.

So what does the Lord say about all this?  Is it just an innocent pursuit?  Let’s see what the Word of God has to say…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it. Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.

(Isa 47:12-15)

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, (Psa 19:1-4)

THE STUDY:

 

Isa 47:12-15

In our first text, Isaiah is receiving a message from God to be delivered to the empire ofBabylon.  In this message Isaiah is tellingBabylonof their coming punishment from God for the sins they have committed (vs 1-11)

Then in verse 12 and 13 – the Babylonians were to turn to their sinful pursuits of enchantments, sorceries, and getting counsel from astrologers, stargazers and monthly prognosticators.  They had put these sinful pursuits ahead of serving the Lord in times past…. So they should rely on them now as well. All of those things would prove worthless.

In verses 14-15 – The Lord would do away with all those pursuits as fire burns stubble.  They would not be able to deliver themselves from these judgments, much less the entire nation ofBabylon, their merchants and their associates from youth.   None of their past pursuits, or associates, could save the nation nor themselves…

Clearly these verses present two important truths about future tellers….

  1. They are of no lasting value… the Lord is the One who controls all events.  They do not control, nor can they save from future events.  (Isa 44:24-25, Isa 41:21-24)
  2. They will receive judgment from the Lord along with those who look to them.  Clearly, they were sharing in the punishment meted out to the empire ofBabylon.  (Isa 8:19-22)

(see also: Dan 1:20, 2:2, 2:27, 4:7, 5:7, 5:11, 5:15 – the astrologers being talked about in the book of Daniel, were unable to interpret or give the solution to the King’s dream.  The entire Daniel account is teaching the impotence of astrologers when it comes to solving life’s issues and understanding God’s will for our lives.)

 

Psalm 19:1-4

Here we find the answer to the question “Why did the Lord create all the heavenly bodies?”  In many astrologist’s minds, the purpose of the heaven’s existence is to help interpret future events.  However, in our Psa 19: verses we find that the real purpose of the creation of the heavens was to display God’s great power, wisdom and glory.  By looking at the greatness of the heavenly bodies, EVERYONE is given a testimony to God’s existence and greatness.  It is a testimony that transcends national, cultural, language and even continental boundaries.  It is the witness Paul talks about in Romans 1:19-20.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

We need to always remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who controls our future.  (Dan 4:34-35, Isa 46:9-11)  It is our responsibility to trust Him with our future on a daily basis.  To seek knowledge of what our future holds is a lack of faith on our part.  He will take care of us… we do not need to think, nor worry about what the future may hold. (Matt 6:25-34)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The greatest peace comes from trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ to care for our past, present and future. (Phil 4:6-7)  By looking to Christ and trusting in His work on the cross, we can find rest and peace from the burden of our sin. (Matt 11:28-30).

Turn to the Lord, relying totally on Him to give forgiveness, peace and rest… this is the key to knowing we are under His care.   Then the future is no longer an uncertainty to be feared and concerned about… it can now be approached with a confident expectation knowing that He will accompany us and protect us no matter what the future may hold.   (Pro 3:5-6, Psa 32:8, Jer 6:16)

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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