Meditative Transformation

Romans 12: 2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

I heard an interesting comment recently. Dr. James Richards said, “Renewing the mind, if you don’t mix meditation with it, is nothing but an exercise in ego and intellectualism.” Whoa!!! That is a big statement. The Apostle Paul tasked us with renewing our minds. The problem is, most of us don’t know how. So, we begin to try to “change” our minds and thinking patterns and rarely do we enjoy any degree of success. There is an entirely different paradigm available to us which is effective and that is what we need to know. It’s imbedded in this “Partnership with God” that I speak of frequently.

There is a difference between “change” and transformation even though they are in the same family. The biggest functional difference is that transformation only occurs through the power of the Holy Spirit by the grace of the Father. When we try to “change” that is a self-effort and it is always doomed to failure.

The second big difference between change and transformation is that transformation does not involve who you are. Truthfully, transformation is about bringing out the beautiful person who is hidden inside you. Inside, you are Christ-like beautiful, but there are likely areas of your life where you are not fully capable of letting that glory shine. The world has trained you in certain ways and those ways are not the way God does things. For example, the world says, “Every man for himself.” God says to put other people’s needs before yours. The world teaches us to be antagonistic and defensive. God leads us to continual peace. So, when someone cuts you off on the highway, you might react as you’ve been taught or you may be able to let God’s thoughts show.

The only way we can be transformed in the inner parts of our soul is to let the Lord work in us and ultimately, through us. Transformation doesn’t actually take place in the mind. It occurs through the renewing of our mind, but the transformation takes place in our spirits. The key is in allowing God to speak to our minds, yes, but also to our spirits. That is when He is able to make transformative changes in us which releases our glorious selves.

Meditation is the slow, deliberate time of connection with God. It isn’t the conversation you have with Him on your way to work. That isn’t a bad practice, it just isn’t what I am discussing here. Meditation is when you allow yourself to slow down and commune with the Father. I am always reminded of Psalm 46: 10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is in the quite pensiveness that we most easily find God. Then He is able to minister to our inner selves to work out our salvation through the transformation process. To try to change ourselves or to attempt to “renew” our own minds is an ego trip on the failure express. We cannot change ourselves in any meaningful way. We certainly cannot transform ourselves from the caterpillar to the lovely butterfly. That is a God process and only by surrendering our will to Him can we experience and manifest the beautiful creature He has created us to be. He is the author of transformation. To think that we can make ourselves into a silk purse from the sow’s ear that we are is to elevate ourselves to the throne. How can we initiate such a transformation if we are, in fact, in need of transformation? Doesn’t the mere fact that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind suggest that we are not complete and therefore incapable of completing this transformation in our own strength? If we knew how to let our inner butterfly out, wouldn’t we have done it long ago.

Transformation and the renewal of the mind are grace processes. Father God is the author of grace. It is His touch within us which is going to effect the transformation. Slow down and take time with God. Enter into a time of quiet and stillness. Meet God beside the calm waters and let Him guide your growth. Let Him lead you and guide the process. To do otherwise is merely “an exercise in ego and intellectualism.”

Let Go, Know God

Psalm 46: 10        GW

Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.

Yesterday I used today’s verse in making a broader point. Today I want to take you into it more in depth. Yesterday I used the NLT version of Psalm 46: 10 which says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” In order to see God’s hand manifested in our lives, we have to be still, quiet and allow Him to be God. Without the benefit of stillness and quiet, it is challenging to hear God.

Another very important aspect of being still is letting go of our worry and putting our trust in Him. It really is a package of trust that allows God to be active in our lives. Doubt shuts Him out. Our worry and keeping our hand in things interferes with God showing up in our lives.

Yahweh God respects our free will very highly. He absolutely will not violate your right to make choices. That also means, though, that He will not step into your business and take over, even if it would be good for you. He knows that would be dysfunctional and that He needs to let you choose for yourself. Therefore, you have to invite Him into your business. He will gladly advise you but only when you allow His participation. If you pray for His help and then lean on your own strength, you are pushing Him out. He wants us to let go of those concerns, turning them completely over to Him.

As you think about this verse, especially as seen from the two different translations, I think you will gain a keen perspective on how to let God be Lord in your life. You may see ways you have restricted Him in the past. Living in Him and with Him means intertwining with Him in every aspect of your life and even every aspect of His. As you release your concerns to Him, He will increasingly minister answers to you. Remember to quiet yourself down and listen for His voice. As He speaks advice, do as He says. You are going to see some fabulous and interesting changes in your life.

I can Hear

Isaiah 50: 5

The Lord God has opened my ear.

Do you know that you stand in the shoes of Jesus? That is what it means to be in him and in him is our goal and calling. This is the New Covenant. What does this have to do with today’s verse? You have been positioned to hear the voice of God exactly as Jesus did. Jesus didn’t speak or perform on his own initiative. Everything he did and said was at the direction of the Father. He heard God speaking to him and followed the Father’s instructions. This is the plan for us too! “But I cannot hear Him speak,” you say. I beg to differ. God has opened your ears as He did Jesus’.

Jesus went further. He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John 10: 27). So, you can hear him. And that is the end of the debate. Jesus says you can hear him, so you can. He knows of what he speaks. The question, then, becomes why are we not following his voice as he said his sheep do? Why are we unaware of our ability to hear him?

When I had my law practice I learned something about this. Often, I would take a vacation to the mountains for a week or two of quiet and solitude. I took my Bibles and books and settled in for some quiet time with God. I noticed, though, that it usually took me a couple of days before I began to hear anything or even receive anything in my spirit. My world was so full of stimulation and noise that it took a couple of days to settle myself. I think of Psalm 46: 10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The King James Version reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” My world was too chaotic, too full of being busy and on the go to ever hear God. I didn’t have the time in my regular day to slow down long enough to hear the Lord speak to my spirit. It took me several days of peace and quiet to be able to really be still in my spirit. I like how the God’s Word translation relates Psalm 46: 10. It says, “Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God.” Most of us don’t let go of our “stuff” long enough to know Him as God. Even when we go to bed at night we still turn things over in our minds. During the day, the TV is on, people are talking to us, we’re working, etc. How much quiet time do you have just to ponder? People don’t think any more. They don’t have time. There is no sitting on the porch in a rocking chair just contemplating the world.

So, even though God has opened our ears, we rarely have space for Him to speak into. It takes a quiet, calm spirit to hear the Lord. He doesn’t yell, He whispers. He speaks into the stillness. I bet if all televisions and cell phones went on the blink for a month two things would happen; you would read a lot more and you would hear God’s voice. What if you made a decision that you and your family would have one hour of quiet time when no electrical or electronic device could be used. Do you think it would impact your life? You might talk with your spouse, your kids. You might even get to know them. Best of all, you might get to know your heavenly Father better too. What about thirty minutes? Will anyone take me up on thirty minutes? Twenty? Even if you only did one hour one day a week it would make a difference. Maybe you could do it two or three days a week.

I promise you – you can hear God, you can hear Jesus. You only need to give them an environment into which they can speak. If you will do that, you will hear them. Don’t forget to use your journaling skills too.

In Stillness

Psalm 46: 10             KJV

Be still, and know that I am God.

This is one of those verses which I like and often quote from the King James Bible. It is also probably the one scripture that did more for my ability to converse with God than any other. To come to know God, I had to be still. The NASB version is very instructive on this verse. It reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” This rendering of the verse spoke loudly to me. I was very frustrated with my inability to hear God speak to me. It turned out that I needed to not try so hard. I just needed to be still physically and mentally, then I could and did hear him.

You have heard me mention Dr. Mark Virkler’s Four Keys to Hearing God’s Voice and Dr. Jim Richard’s Heart Physics. Each of these are good tools for helping you calm yourself down so that you can hear God speaking  inside of you. My favorite tool of all is breathing. Yep, I said breathing. I have learned how to take a deep breath and clear the stress and anxiety from my mind so I can hear Him speak. Sometimes my mind is so active that it is like a pinball game inside my head. That is when I just need to take a deep breath and relax. In the beginning it might take me a while to settle but now I can usually notice a difference with one big breath. I also turn my mind to a picture of Jesus. Usually in times of busyness and chaos, there are lots of pictures and words running through my mind. So, I take a deep breath and perhaps picture Jesus seated next to a mountain stream. In a moment I join him there and the rest of the world slips away for a few minutes.

You will learn about journaling in the Four Keys. Check out, also, some examples of my journaling at http://www.bornofthespirit.today/learning-to-hear-directly-from-god/. Journaling is another good way to calm your mind. When you give your mind and hands something focused to do the chaos calms.

Once I could hear Father speak to me, our relationship began to change quickly. I began to recognize Him as a Dad every bit as much as God. From there I soon recognized His presence with me. More and more He became an integrated part of my life and more and more I yearned to have Him in every moment of my day. He and Jesus have become my friends. They are who I like to talk with. I point out my observations to them and they share their perspective with me.

As, I said, I have not arrived at the end of the journey by any means, but, becoming more intertwined with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has changed my life, as you would expect it would. I find I long for them even more because life with them is good. Life has stress but when you have best friends like Yahweh and Jesus, it sure helps. They fill me with their peace and take my stress. They take my judgment, replacing it with compassion. Living in them and with them is just better than life without them.

I have shared some of my journey to getting to know the Holy Trinity and how I am intertwining my life with theirs. I invite you to share your experiences and successes so others may find a closer walk with Jesus. Simply click the link below to share your thoughts. Thanks.

Reboot Your Mainframe

Mark 6: 31

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.”
I am sure you have noticed that every once in a while your computer needs to be rebooted. Sometimes I use my laptop for several days without turning it off. I just put it to sleep and wake it up when it is time for it to work again. I am not letting it really shut down. Eventually it will complain and start failing in its tasks. So, I have to reboot it. I have to let it completely reset itself.

We need the same thing, a complete reboot. Many of us allow ourselves a little sleep but few hours of deep rest. We are like our laptops. We close our eyes like we close the laptop and sleep but we never really turn all of the machinery off and allow ourselves a deep rest. Jesus knew this was neither healthy nor ultimately productive.

One would think that if you worked with Jesus that there would be a great impetus to work day and night. Wouldn’t that have become even more pressing as the apostles learned that their time with Jesus was limited. More importantly, wouldn’t you expect Jesus to work day and night knowing that his time was short? There was so much to be done and such a short amount of time to accomplish it all. Why stop to rest? People are going to hell in a hand basket. Surely, of all the jobs any of us have Jesus’ was the most important ever. With all that weighing on their shoulders Jesus took himself and his apostles away to a quiet and lonely place to get some deep rest. They didn’t just go somewhere and take a power nap and then go right back to work, they actually “went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves” (v. 32).

We need to do the same thing. None of us has a job that is so important that we shouldn’t take some time away. We need that away time to reset and refresh. It is so hard to hear God even speaking to us when we are busy and harried. When you slow down a bit you find music and poetry and God’s thoughts rising up out of your spirit. There has to be time when you “shut down” everything and just commune with God in your spirit. God actually does want you to take a vacation but He does not want you to turn it into another busyness ritual. Slow down and be still. Just sit in the lounge chair and listen to the birds. You are going to be surprised how much Dad has to say to you and you will get the refreshing you need. Shut down your own system. Reboot your hardware and your software. You are going to feel better and even work much better.

Powered by Quiet

Isaiah 30: 15

In quietness and trust is your strength.

How is that for a counter-cultural statement? I don’t think many of us associate strength with quiet? I think we connect strength with activity and energy. Walking with God requires us to learn an entirely new model. In the quiet, contemplative moments is where we actually find our strength. It is there that we forge the bond of trust.

Probably most of learned that when a problem presented itself it demands that we “do” something. And for many of us I don’t think that meant to go to a quiet place and meditate. No, we are doers. We apply action to problems. I cannot even count the number of times I have inquired of God, “What do you want me to do?” “Nothing,” He says to me. Are you kidding? Do nothing? That is not the way we are programmed but I am learning that God knows what He is talking about. I am most effective when I slow down and pray. I want to do something active to confront an issue but God is teaching me that the power is in the stillness. He has legions of angels poised to handle problems and frankly, they are much more capable than I. What I have, though, the thing which distinguishes me, is prayer. If I can be disciplined enough to quiet my heart and calm my mind then Father God will show me the way. In that stillness are answers. Not only that, but there is also encouragement and strengthening through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

If we will retreat into our prayer closet when confronted by a problem then our dear Father will meet us there and will subsequently meet our need. When we open our heart and our ears He is faithful to pour Himself into us. And when you have been touched and filled by the Father don’t you think you will have the courage to trust and find great strength? If you need strength it is found in the quiet attentiveness given to the Holy Spirit. Settle yourself and seek God’s face. Look to Him with your inner being in the calm assurance of His love. Love never fails but it can be difficult to touch when you are in an energetic rampage. Calm down, settle yourself. In the quiet of your heart your strength will be renewed.

Peaceful Mediations

Joshua 1: 8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Let us talk about meditation a little today. Yesterday we looked at Psalm 62:5 and Psalm 46: 10 which teach us to be still and quiet in the presence of God so that we may know Him as God. In the still, quiet peace of our souls is where we most easily connect with God. However, it is quite one thing to agree that you need to be still or that you need to meditate and another to actually do it. At least that was my experience. 

I decided one year that I was going to pray for an hour a day and I actually did it for quite a while. Now, you would expect my life to have exhibited a dynamic metamorphosis after praying for an hour a day. There is, however, an element of prayer that is necessary for it to have any power at all. That would be God. My prayer was an endless stream of syllables but I believe it lacked substance. It probably was noise in the ears of our Lord. I never bothered to connect with Him or the Holy Spirit so it was a soliloquy rather than a dialogue and prayer is not meant to be one-sided. Prayer is communication with God through the three persons of the trinity. My spirit, soul and mind were rarely quiet, still or silent. So, I would try with all my strength to be still and quiet. I would try to meditate. How many of you know that when you try that hard and apply power that you just create more noise. There is no effort in stillness. Remember, Psalm 46: 10 says to cease striving. So striving to hear the voice of God or striving to meditate is just not going to work. I was in violation of the principles of prayer and the kingdom of God. God teaches us that we connect and have deep fellowship through peace and ease. David commanded his soul to silence so that he could hear what the Father would say. David knew in whom his hope rested because he had many times experienced that saving grace of the Lord. 

It is exceedingly unfair for teachers to constantly intone about meditation and never teach us how to meditate. For some of you I understand this comes easily. I cannot even fathom. Others of you may have struggled with me. How then do we enter that rest that we often hear about? 

My revelation was not my own. A dear friend and mentor led me, this year, to two ministries which in conjunction have opened the prison doors and set me free. The first of those ministries is Communion with God Ministries whose founder is Dr. Mark Virkler. How appropriate. Now, do you think a ministry with that name may be able to help you find God and assist you in communing with him? Absolutely! And it was certainly true for me. Dr. Virkler’s foundational program is 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice. If you want to hear God’s voice speaking directly to you, then this program will make it happen for you. Dr. Virkler very subtlety teaches us left brained people to stimulate the right side of our brains bringing us into greater balance and causing us to experience the other half of the world (maybe more than ½). His website is a great beginning place and it is loaded with tons of free content. Free is good. I learned how to use the 4 keys just from his website and had an immediate breakthrough. The website is www.cwgministries.org

The other ministry that has radically altered my life this year is Impact Ministries with Dr. James Richards. Dr. Richards has many areas of expertise which can impact your life but the Heart Physics program is what has taught me how to be still. It was amazingly easy too. I was absolutely astounded at how quickly I began having significant breakthroughs. In fact, during the first week I had several major ideas just “come to me.” That which Dr. Richards teaches can alter every area of life. And while it takes a few minutes to go through the heart exercises, that time and more is added back in productivity and creativity. He also teaches you how to have more energy. You will be amazed at the peace you gain through heart physics and I guarantee you will learn how to calm yourself down and to meditate. It is a very fruitful program. Find all of Dr. Richards’ resources at www.impactministries.com or www.heartphysics.com.

We can all have peace. We can all find God in the stillness of our hearts. These two ministries can help you find that place of calm serenity where Jesus is waiting for you. Be still and know your God and savior. Find peace and truth in meditation.