Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Forced to Meditate

I am so busy . . . doing nothing. I work a job to pay for my stuff which truly has no value. I have a great job that gives me summers off, and I waste those summers. This summer, we've been traveling quite a bit for Miles' work which means it isn't necessarily fun bkz his schedule is fairly regulated, though I enjoy traveling a great deal with my husband. This hotel isn't much to look at from the outside, but it is completely renovated inside, and actually really nice. So today as I sit in a hotel room in OK waiting for the pool to open and my husband to come back for lunch, I have a lot of time to think.
So it is Central Time Zone, so I'm awake way earlier than I normally am with nothing to do. So I made my way over to a walking track for about an hour, but I still have an hour until the pool opens. What should I do with my time? I could watch tv, Heaven knows there are enough channels to find something to watch even if it is Day 58 (or whatever day it is) of the oil spill. What a waste of time . . .

I had my "routine" quiet time earlier this morning, but I decided to read for a little longer. I know that meditation is not my forte, so God is giving me lots of down time to work on it. 11 hours in the car yesterday, and hours upon hours for the next few days. I might as well try to find a good way to use my down time. I like that God is forcing me to learn to meditate bkz this morning I read a very familiar verse that showed me the benefits of meditating on Him: He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. Ps. 1:3

Meditation is worth working on. Teach me Lord!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

King of Kings & Lord of Lords

"...a friend in Japan wrote that he has understood the proper spirit of prayer more by listening to the Japanese Christians than from the teaching American missionaries. 'We know how to come to God as humble servants with boldness,' he says. 'You don't have to tell Japanese people about hierarcy. When they learn that God is the Lord they immediately know all the implications of that. They know who's boss and that is never questioned. When they pray they use language that combines the highest form of speech and the most intimate phrases of love and devotion. When they ask for something they ask with true humility, knowing they have no right to what they're asking except that God gives them the very right to ask and promises to answer.'" (p. 130, Reaching for the Invisible God, Yancey)

This paragraph really grabbed my attention. It is interesting how living in a republic (non-pure democracy) we miss out on what the Japanese (and many other cultures) understand automatically about God. Our culture tells us that we can say whatever we want and if we don't like what the president says than we can be disrespectful (if we so choose). Try that in a monarchy or other hierarchical society. It won't work out very well. We are taught to be independent and think for ourselves. I'm not saying that all of these things are horrible, but it doesn't help us understand God any better.

God is the King of Kings & Lord of Lords. He is the ultimate authority. You don't question the authority figure. You aren't disrespectful to Him. I like the quote about being humble servants with boldness. It made me think of Esther, and how she knew that the Xerxes was the King as well as her husband. He could kill her if she went before him without his permission. I know that God could kill me if He wanted, but I know I can go boldly before Him because He loves me. Here is the key difference. Earthly kings don't love their subjects like God does. We have direct access to a God & King Who loves us deeply.

It shines a whole new light on Who He is . . .

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Take the Time

I've been reading a fantastic book by Philip Yancey, though I like most of his books. It is entitled Reaching for the Invisible God: What can we expect to find? I've been constantly challenged in my relationship with God from this book as I continue to attempt to draw closer to God. I will just stick with what I learned today for now though.

"Monastics have a practice they call statio that means, simply, stopping one thing before beginning another. . . After reading from a book, pause and think back through what you learned and how you were moved. After watching a television show, pause and ask what it contributed to your life. Before reading the Bible, pause and ask for a spirit of attention. Do this often enough and even mechanical acts become conscious, mindful. I find that if I take time to pray for the recipient before beginning to compose a letter or before making a phone call, it makes the tasks less of a chore and more of an opporutnity in which to receive or express God's grace." (p. 168)

This is how I, and most Americans, DON'T live their lives. We rush around from one thing to another. I find myself very busy this summer, and I have next to nothing to do. I am rarely just still, but to stop and think about everything that I'm about to do or have just done? As a counselor by profession, I feel like I probably think about things more than the average person, but I don't do it nearly enough. I know that when I stop and think about things instead of rushing around, I learn and grow.

Scripture talks about meditating on His Word alot (e.g. Ps. 1: 2), and I don't take the time to do that often enough. I get the task done of reading His Word, but do I meditate on it? Do I take the time to allow the Word to sink in and change me? He promises that His word will change me if I meditate on it (Romans 12:2).

So I'm challenged to not take any more mental breaks, and to be intentionally focused on the Lord and every opportunity that He puts in my life. It will be slow at first, but I've done it before. It is possible. One step at a time . . .