Ruminations

Lamentations 3: 22 – 23       NRSV

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I have a new journal, a gift from a friend. This morning I turned to the page with this verse and found myself pondering it. As I turned it over in my mind, I wondered if this might provide a good opportunity to show you what meditation can look like. Now I know some of you are old hands at meditating on scripture but bear with the rest of us for today.

Meditating on scriptures is where I receive a lot of revelation. Many Words of the Day come out of this process. In fact, tomorrow I will share with you what came out of my meditation on this scripture. Pondering scripture is where I connect with God and He shows me a deeper view of a scripture or a different aspect of it.

Reading this scripture, you might stop on the word “steadfast”. What does that word mean? What does it mean to you? What synonym could you replace it with. I didn’t stop there, but maybe someday I will. I was arrested by “never ceases.” I began to replace “never ceases” with other words: eternal, abundant, they overflow, unending . . . you get the idea. As I thought about those words an idea began to form about this bottomless well, the cup of coffee that has no bottom.

You might want to stop and think about “His mercies.” What is the author talking about here? What are God’s never ending mercies? Compassion is one of the synonyms you will find in other versions. What word or words would you use?

This never ending, renewable resource had me fascinated this morning. His mercies are inexhaustible. None the less, He gives us a fresh supply every morning. I guess, like the manna in the desert, God does not want us living on day old bread. He gives us a fresh, new stock of His compassion every morning.

All I did with this scripture, was to play the synonym game. That yielded a fuller understanding and developed into ideas and a visual image, which is what I will share tomorrow. There is nothing special about what I did. I just let the Holy Spirit lead my mind and spirit on a journey. It is quite fun, actually. Give it a try on this scripture. I would love for you to send me your impressions. Remember, there is no right or wrong. We all see from slightly different vantage points and that is a good thing.

Night Watches

Psalm 63: 5

When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.

I thought I would share the secret of David’s success for those who wish to know it. It’s two-fold. First, David remembered the Lord. That’s a very good start. He thought about the Lord. He remembered that the Lord, our God, was his constant companion and his strong right arm. So, at night, when he had bedded down the sheep, he remembered God.

Part two – when David remembered God, he then meditated on Him. What does that mean? He didn’t just have a fleeting thought about God and move on. He remembered Yahweh and when he did, he stopped and contemplated who God is and what roles God played in his life. That was likely when David also pondered the promises God had previously made to him personally and through the Word. It was likely the time when he would consider his future and what God wanted to do with him.

Those quiet night watches made David a king. God chose him, and even had Samuel anoint him with oil as the future king. Then David went back to tending sheep. How lonely that must have felt. Here you have this huge calling on your life and the anointing to boot but you are on the backside of nowhere tending a small, seemingly inconsequential flock. Sound familiar? Well, don’t worry. The promotion is in those quiet times of just you and Yahweh. It is in those times that no one sees.

I would be willing to bet that many of you who receive this Word of the Day, are being called into a deeper prayer life this year. Furthermore, I bet God isn’t asking you for a typical prayer life as much as He is asking you to spend quiet, contemplative time with Him. Is this you? Write me and let me know. I will add your prayer time to the prayer list and encourage you too.

The End

Psalm 77: 12 – 13          TPT

I ponder all you’ve done, Lord, musing on all your miracles. It’s here in your presence, in your sanctuary, where I learn more of your ways. For holiness is revealed in everything you do.

The End of all things is to learn where your power center is, and this is it. God is the source of all good. Asaph understood that when all was said, all was done, it comes back to the meditation in God’s presence. You don’t have to be in the sanctuary of the church because Jesus made us all tabernacles of God. We are His resting place. That means we need to commune with Him within our own hearts because that is His temple, His abode.

Asaph went into the sanctuary and pondered all that God has done. He mused, thought, and considered the miracles of the Lord. When he did, he learned. That quiet time in the presence of the Lord is when the miracles are formed. It is where and how we learn. If the church is weak, it will be weak when we do not spend time in the tabernacle with God, meaning we do not get alone with God and ponder His ways. It is in His presence that we are renewed and our thoughts are renewed.

God’s personality is revealed in everything He does, and everything He says. So, when we get quiet in His presence we learn of Him and He reveals His essence. In that space of calm reflection and communication is also where we are most likely to receive the idea that changes our lives or the answer to a perplexing question. Asaph learned that the answer to his dilemma was in the contemplative time with God, time in His actual presence. I bet your answer is too!

Pondering

Psalm 77: 6

I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, and my spirit ponders.

I really like this scripture. It has a nice feeling to it, but it also shares some key insights to meditation. For example, did you notice that the author meditates with his heart? Well, that’s not very western of him. Oh yeah, he wasn’t western. Our faith originates in the east. No wonder some of these ideas perplex us.

The author goes on to say that his spirit ponders. Okay. Let’s pick up our meditation series right there. First, though, remember that we have quieted down physically, emotionally and mentally. Breathe deep, slow breaths, maybe put on nature sounds or atonal, soothing music, turn off the phone, light an aromatic candle or wax burner. In other words, make your physical surrounding one of relaxation.

Then as we engage stillness in our bodies and internally, we turn our minds and attention to the Father. Perhaps you imagined Him sitting with you at your kitchen table or in lawn chairs on your patio. This is all to connect you with the Father in your heart. We can use this time to let our minds rest and instead interact with Father with our spirits. You know how to do this. Remember when you fell in love and you didn’t have to say anything to each other. Your hearts felt like they just matched beats. Or, remember how you connected with your new baby who couldn’t yet speak? Connecting with God is really very much the same. You reach out with your heart rather than your mind and make the connection there. Then, you can certainly use your mind as a tool of your heart to communicate but make the connection with the Father in your heart rather than in your mind.

Now comes the fun part. We get to ponder. Here are some synonyms of meditate: contemplate, think about, consider, ponder, cogitate, muse. I just really like ponder. People get all weird about meditating, though we all do it all the time, but when we think about pondering something, it all becomes normal again. Yea! So, here we go. I am going to show you one of my favorite ways to meditate. Let’s ponder Psalm 46:10.

I have shared with you three translations. The NLT reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” God’s Word Translation reads, “Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” And the Passion Translation has, “Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.” They are all the same verse but don’t look the same, at least at first blush. So, here is what I do, and, by the way, this is where lots of Words of the Day come from. I just begin to ask questions about the differences. I ponder the differences. Why did the editors choose one word over another? What are some other words which mean the same thing? What is the difference in each translation? Are they communicating the same thing but from different vantage points? What ties them together? What was the author experiencing at the time of writing? Do the verses before and after give me insight into the meaning? Then, the most important question of all, if I slow down for a moment and think about this verse, what does it mean to me? How can this wisdom fit into my life?

And that’s it. You’ve just meditated. Of course, that is only one way. I like to meditate over verses by looking at different translations. You may enjoy pondering a Bible story. Picture Jesus on the day he and his apostles fed the five thousand. What did that look like? What did Jesus do? What did his disciples do? As you observe and ask questions, you will discover the Holy Spirit providing insights and answers. It’s really a whole lot of fun. You might even put yourself in the scene. What would you be doing? Are you distributing food, taking up the leftovers or are you just sitting by Jesus watching and listening to him?

Do a little mental meandering. Ponder a scripture, a story or a scene. I would love hearing about your experiences, so share them either by replying to this devotion or post it on our site.

Musings

Isaiah 30: 18

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.

One of the jobs of any minister is to bring you the Word of God. I also share with you what God is telling me, but in delivering passages of scripture, there is an impartation of the Word to you. What I write will, hopefully, bring enlightenment to the scripture and inspire you. The most important part of this, or any devotional, though, is what comes to you through your meditation on the Word.

Today’s verse seems very powerful to me. I wonder, though, what you hear as you read and reread it. Why does the Lord long to be gracious to you? He is waiting to show you the depth of His compassion. Why does He long to show you His compassion and upon what, or whom, is He waiting.

Isaiah seems to suggest that our longing for God is a key to unlocking these blessings and perhaps even others. Is God awaiting us? What does He need from you and from me in order to rain down His love, compassion and blessings upon us.

While you are pondering today, let me give you one more question to consider. If God longs to be gracious to us, what is stopping Him? If He awaits on high to show His compassion, for what is He waiting? If God can do anything, at anytime, then what is restricting Him from showering us with His graciousness and compassion? This passage makes it clear that God is limited in this realm. How can that be, except that He limited Himself? For those who stand on God’s absolute sovereignty this verse should give pause.

I hope you will take a walk with Jesus today and talk with him about all these musings.