MEDITATE ON THE WORD DAY & NIGHT2
Eat the Word. It's the breakfast of real champions and will make you a mighty man or woman in Christ (be sure to obey from the heart the word you eat in the power of the Spirit so that you do not become a proud "Pharisee" with a condemning judgmental spirit for all those who don't know as many verses as you do! Remember the beatitude "Blessed are the poor in spirit" (Mt 5:3-note), always mindful of your spiritual bankruptcy outside of Christ (cf John 15:5, Col 3:3-note, etc) and thus your continual need to depend on the Spirit of Christ and the Word of Truth for your spiritual sustenance and growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord
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Keep The Goal In View -- Don't study the Bible to be able to quote it; study it to obey it.
Bible scholar William Barclay tells of his walks through the meadow with his bull terrier Rusty. Whenever his dog came to a shallow creek, he jumped in and started removing stones, one by one, dropping them haphazardly on the shore. This pointless activity would go on for hours.
Barclay says that Rusty's strange behavior reminds him of some self-proclaimed experts on the Bible. They expend enormous energy and countless hours trying to interpret obscure passages, but all their effort does nothing to edify themselves or others.
Through the years I have received long letters from people like that. Some show me how to know exactly who the Antichrist will be. Others claim to have found the key to certain Bible mysteries by studying the meaning of names in the lists of genealogies.
Apparently there were some teachers in Ephesus who were trying to impress the believers by weaving myths and fables into their interpretation of the Bible. But what they taught did nothing to promote godliness. It was therefore as pointless as Rusty's stone removal project.
Paul said to Timothy, "Exercise yourself toward godliness." That's the most important goal to keep in view as we study the Bible. —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Oh, grant us grace, Almighty Lord!
To read and mark Thy holy Word,
Its truths with meekness to receive,
And by its holy precepts live. —Boddome
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Exceeding great and precious promises A few thoughts from Spurgeon on meditation (from his devotional on 2Pe 1:4-note)
If you would know experimentally the preciousness of the promises, and enjoy them in your own heart, meditatemuch upon them. There are promises which are like grapes in the wine-press; if you will tread them the juice will flow. Thinking over the hallowed words will often be the prelude to their fulfilment. While you are musing upon them, the boon which you are seeking will insensibly come to you. Many a Christian who has thirsted for the promise has found the favour which it ensured gently distilling into his soul even while he has been considering the divine record; and he has rejoiced that ever he was led to lay the promise near his heart. But besides meditating upon the promises, seek in thy soul to receive them as being the very words of God. Speak to thy soul thus, "If I were dealing with a man's promise, I should carefully consider the ability and the character of the man who had covenanted with me. So with the promise of God; my eye must not be so much fixed upon the greatness of the mercy-that may stagger me; as upon the greatness of the promiser-that will cheer me. My soul, it is God, even thy God, God that cannot lie, who speaks to thee. This word of his which thou art now considering is as true as his own existence. He is a God unchangeable. He has not altered the thing which has gone out of his mouth, nor called back one single consolatory sentence. Nor doth he lack any power; it is the God that made the heavens and the earth who has spoken thus. Nor can he fail in wisdom as to the time when he will bestow the favours, for he knoweth when it is best to give and when better to withhold. Therefore, seeing that it is the word of a God so true, so immutable, so powerful, so wise, I will and must believe the promise." If we thus meditate upon the promises, and consider the Promiser, we shall experience their sweetness, and obtain their fulfilment.
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Biblical Meditation is an excellent discussion on what Scripture teaches about meditation. Regarding the question of what meditation means Hampton Keathley writes...
The first question we must consider concerns the meaning of meditation and what meditation involves. This is particularly important to the Christian because of the great and growing emphasis on meditation in eastern religions. Transcendental meditation, as it is often called, is not biblical meditation. It is dangerous and actually opens up one’s mind for Satanic attack as it is found in New Age thinking. My purpose here is to deal only with the meaning and blessing of biblical meditation and to point out that eastern forms of meditation and biblical meditation are miles apart... Meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse.” Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action. (Click full article)
See also related topics on Biblical Meditation
Discussion of Biblical Meditation
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Real Motivation! Pr 2:10, 11 - If your life depended on knowing the Bible, how long would you last? You must read this one for your "spiritual" live, particularly life that is abundant does depend on intake of the Word of Truth.
"Toward the close of World War II, Allied forces were mopping up against remaining Nazi resistance. One particular unit was assigned a crucial mission in Berlin. Each soldier had to memorize a map detailing all of Berlin's important military sites -- and they had to do it in a single night! In just a few hours, each soldier in the unit had committed the map to memory. The mission was a success. Several years later, the Army conducted an experiment to see if that original feat could be duplicated. They offered a similar unit an extra week's furlough--an attractive incentive--if they could carry out a comparable mission without a hitch. But the second unit could not match the success of the first. What made the difference? The lives of the men were not at stake. Surviving in battle was a greater motivation than a week's vacation.
Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare (Ep 6:10, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 18-Ep 6:10-18 - related resource = notes beginning at Ephesians 6:10; Wayne Barber's series on Spiritual Warfare). Our road map, our plan of strategy against Satan's military strongholds, is the Bible. The more we read it, the more of it we memorize, and the more thoroughly we know it, the more effective we will be for God. We must approach God's Word as if our lives depended on it--because they do. That's real motivation!" written by H W Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Where soldiers may repair,
And find, for life's long battle-day,
All needful weapons there.
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Illustration of the Incredible Impact of One Bible in Poland during WWII
Noted Bible teacher E. Schuyler English told of Michael Billester, a Bible distributor who visited a small hamlet in Poland shortly before World War II. Billester gave a Bible to a villager, who was converted by reading it. The new believer then passed the Book on to others. The cycle of conversions (Note the intrinsic, inherent power of the Word to bear spiritual fruit! cp Col 1:5, 6, 7-note, Acts 6:7, 11:1, 12:24, 17:13, 19:20, 1Th 2:13-note, Ro 1:16-note. So what's the point? Give out the Word!) and sharing continued until 200 people had become believers through that one Bible. When Billester returned in 1940, this group of Christians met together for a worship service in which he was to preach the Word. He normally asked for testimonies, but this time he suggested that several in the audience recite verses of Scripture. One man stood and said, "Perhaps we have misunderstood. Did you mean verses or chapters?" These villagers had not memorized a few select verses of the Bible but whole chapters and books. Thirteen people knew Matthew, Luke, and half of Genesis. Another person had committed to memory the Psalms. That single copy of the Bible given by Billester had done its work. Transformed lives bore witness to the power of the Word. (from Sermon Illustrations)
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The Old Violin
I love Thy commandments more than gold, yes, more than fine gold! Psalm 119:127 (See Spurgeon's note)
London music student Richard Steel prized the old violin that had once been his grandfather's. One day Richard tried to help a bus driver who couldn't get close to the curb because of a barrier. Putting aside his old violin, he removed the obstacle. But then the driver, unable to see the books and the violin, drove over them.
The crushed books could be replaced. And the old violin, though valued for sentimental reasons, could be replaced too -- or could it?
As Richard examined his splintered instrument, inside he found the signature of Stradivarius, the greatest of all violin makers. The old violin was a priceless and irreplaceable masterpiece. The Sotheby auction firm estimated that it had been worth more than $700,000.
Many families pass treasured Bibles from one generation to the next as spiritual heirlooms. But these treasures are often treated as mere antiques while their pages go unread and their promises remain unclaimed. The message of salvation goes unheeded. Its true value is never realized.
The Bible is more than just a record of long-ago events and ancient wisdom. It is the Book that bears God's signature. It is His message of truth and grace to us. Let's not neglect it. Let's read it, believe it, and obey it.-- Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine,
And jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths
For every searcher there.-- Hodder
Many people store the Bible on the shelf
instead of in their heart.
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Food For the Year January 1, 1997. READ: Jeremiah 15:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. --Jeremiah 15:16
It's a good thing I grew up liking black-eyed peas, because my mother served them every New Year's Day. She didn't think this tradition would bring good luck, as some people believe, but the practice persisted at our house.
Many Americans welcome the new year with cabbage, herring, honey, sardines, or salt. The Japanese eat long noodles. The Greeks bake a special bread. In Spain, the custom is to eat 12 individual grapes in the seconds leading up to the new year. Anthropologists say that eating certain foods to change one's fortune dates back to ancient Babylonia.
The prophet Jeremiah wasn't looking for good luck. As God's spokesman during a difficult time in Israel's history, he suffered rejection and persecution. Yet God's Word produced deep joy in his heart. In a vivid statement, he said to God, "Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart" (Jer. 15:16).
Eating black-eyed peas won't influence the year ahead of me one bit. But if I'll make God's Word a part of my life each day through reading, study, and memorization, that will make a difference. The Bible is food for thought and nourishment for the new year. —David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Then let me love my Bible more
And take a fresh delight
By day to read these wonders o'er
And meditate by night. --Watts
The Bible is bread for daily use,
not cake for special occasions.
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Don't Be a Parakeet - memorization is not to inform you but to transform you...Our Daily Bread has the following devotional that speaks to this point...April 11, 1998, 1Corinthians 2:6-16
No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. --1Corinthians 2:11
On several occasions I visited a retired pastor who had a pet parakeet named Gibby Gibson. It would say, "Gibby Gibson is the prettiest bird in all the world." Or it would repeat, "Dr. Gibson is a preacher--a Baptist preacher." But, of course, the bird didn't understand one word it was saying.
Herein lies a lesson. Too many Christians go through the habitual motions of worship and Bible reading without the slightest idea of the meaning of what they are doing. They seem to think there is some secret charm or mystical benefit in just going through it.
The issue is not how much of the Bible you read, but how well you read it. I have heard many people boast about how many times they have read through the Bible, but their conversation revealed a tragic ignorance of the Word of God. Better to read one verse prayerfully, seeking the guidance of your "Paraclete" (translated as "Comforter" or "Helper" inJohn 14:16), the Holy Spirit, than to rattle off a whole book from memory like a parakeet. The important question is, "Do you understand what you are reading?" (Acts 8:30).
When you read the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit, your "Paraclete," to guide you. Don't be a parakeet. —M. R. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Ever-present, truest Friend,
Ever near Thine aid to lend;
Guide us as we search the Word,
Make it both our shield and sword. --Anon.
It's better to live one verse of the Bible
than to recite an entire chapter.
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No Fast Food in the Bible: Meditation is like "chewing the cud" Read the following devotional that addresses this point...November 5, 2005, READ: Psalm 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 - see notes
I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. —Psalm 119:15 (See Spurgeon's note)
I love the sight of cows lying in the field, chewing their cud. But what is cud? And why do they spend so much time chewing it?
Cows first fill their stomachs with grass and other food. Then they settle down for a good long chew. They bring the food back up from their stomachs and rework what they've already eaten, assimilating its goodness and transforming it into rich creamy milk. Time-consuming? Yes. A waste of time? Not if they want to give good milk.
The phrase "chewing the cud" is used to describe the process of meditation. The writer of Psalm 119 obviously did a lot of mental chewing as he read God's Word. No fast food for him! If we follow his example of careful and prayerful Scripture reading, we will:
Be strengthened against sin (Psalm 119:11) (note)
Find delight in learning more about God (Psalm 119:15, 16) (note v15; v16)
Discover wonderful spiritual truths (Psalm 119:18) (note)
Find wise counsel for daily living (Psalm 119:24) (note)
Meditation is more than reading the Bible and believing it. It's applying Scripture to everyday life.
God's Word is not meant to be fast food. Take time for a good long chew. —Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word. —Lathbury
To be a healthy Christian,
don't treat the Bible as snack food
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Memorize It! Ps 119:11 When the Bible becomes a part of you, you'll be less likely to come apart.
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C H Spurgeon commenting on Psalm 119:11 wrote...
Thy word have I hid in mine heart. His heart would be kept by the word because he kept the word in his heart. All that he had of the word written, and all that had been revealed to him by the voice of God, -- all, without exception, he had stored away in his affections, as a treasure to be preserved in a casket, or as a choice seed to be buried in a fruitful soil: what soil more fruitful than a renewed heart, wholly seeking the Lord? The word was God's own, and therefore precious to God's servant. He did not wear a text on his heart as a charm, but he hid it in his heart as a rule. He laid it up in the place of love and life, and it filled the chamber with sweetness and light. We must in this imitate David, copying his heart work as well as his outward character. First, we must mind that what we believe is truly God's word; that being done, we must hide or treasure it each man for himself; and we must see that this is done, not as a mere feat of the memory, but as the joyful act of the affections. (Spurgeon on Ps 119:11)
Hiding God's Word in our hearts
Will strengthen our spirit within,
Giving the help that we need
To turn from temptation and sin
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Meditation in Nave's Topical Bible (see ISBE "Meditation" and Torrey's Character of a Renewed Heart)
Renew Your Mind See notes on Romans 12:2
Meditate on the Word of the Lord Day and Night (Psalm 1) by John Piper who explains that meditation on the Word is difficult if one does not first memorize it and that
"the depth and solidity and certainty of your walk with God and your communion with God will rise and fall with whether God's own written Word is the warp and woof of the fabric of your fellowship." (Recommendation: Read the entire sermon)
Meditation by Henry Blackaby His comments are eye opening
An Advanced Scripture Memory Program - from Bible.org
Ongoing Meditation Ps 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104 (notes) - Reading the Bible without meditating on it is like eating without chewing.
Quiet Time: Seven Minutes with God: A good place to begin if your quiet time has become too "quiet" or your schedule has become too busy for time with God (a place we all have been from time to time). (See also The Morning Hour by Andrew Murray)
A primer on Meditation This brief article describes how to meditate on God's Holy Word, a spiritual discipline seldom practiced but one that yields truly life changing dividends. Below is an excerpt...
Meditation is simply thought prolonged and directed to a single object. Your mystic chambers where thoughts abide are the secret workshop of an unseen Sculptor chiseling living forms for a deathless future. Personality and influence are modeled here. Hence, the biblical injunction: 'Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life' (A. T. Pierson).
Meditation is chewing. It is like the graphic picture of a cow and her process of mastication -- bringing up previously digested food for renewed grinding and preparation for assimilation.
Meditation is pondering and reviewing various thoughts by mulling them over in the mind and heart. It is the processing of mental food. We might call it "thought digestion." "Chewing" upon a thought, deliberately and thoroughly, provides provides a vital link between theory and action. What metabolism is to the physical body of the cow, meditation is to your mental and spiritual life.
Meditation is analyzing. It is the art of taking a good, long look at a given object as the craftsman does his dazzling jewel -- polishing the diamond to reflect all its light and beauty. Meditation on a portion of the Holy Bible is like gazing at a prism of many facets, turning the stone from angle to angle in the bright sunlight. Steady and constant reflection reveals unlimited beauties from the Scriptures which will never otherwise be seen.
Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law (Ps119:18).
Meditation is action. Someone has described it: "Making words into thoughts and thoughts into actions." It is mental planning ahead with definite action in mind for accomplishing a job. Andrew Murray describes it: "Holding the Word of God in your heart until it has affected every phase of your life... this is meditation." (bolding and colors added) Click full article
The Wheel: Basics of the Christ-Centered Spirit-Filled Life: audio of 12 foundational verses in 3 translations plus a 3-4 audio discussion of each verse to aid your understanding, application and retention. This could be a good place to begin your journey if you've never memorized Scripture before. Try the sample link on the verse I quoted the day I testified to the world in water baptism that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. 2Corinthians 5:17. Click for comparison of the various Bible translations from most literal to most paraphrased, and do not use the latter as your major source for memory verses
Topical Memory System: This is the "old standby" which launched my Scripture memorization program many years ago. I cannot begin to count the times the Spirit of God has brought these "first memory verses" back to mind in teaching, witnessing and "everyday life" situations. If you've never memorized Scripture I personally think this simple but solid system is the best way to begin. After this 30-week Navigators course, you'll not only have 60 key verses memorized, you'll also know how to meditate on Scripture and apply it to your life. The set includes a how-to booklet, a pocket sized "verse carrier", and 60 verses on business sized cards with your choice of NIV, KJV, NASB or NKJV. You will find these 60 verses will by the Spirit and the grace in which we stand together give you the potential to gain...
(1) Freedom from Anxiety: Memorizing and meditating on God's Word will help you overcome worry. You can experience God's perfect peace by having His promises written on your heart.
(2) Victory over Sin: God's Word hidden in your heart is the sword of the Spirit, available for battle at any time against sin and Satan.
(3) Confidence in Witnessing: One of the five series of verses in the Topical Memory System will give you a workable plan for sharing the gospel with others.
(4) Spiritual Fitness: Scripture memory will help you keep spiritually fit. You will experience immediate benefits and become better equipped to meet future needs and opportunities