Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pondering Jesus

Elmer Towns wrote a fantastic book called "Biblical Meditation for Spiritual Breakthrough." Meditation was God's idea, as evidenced by David in the Psalms:

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)


"Give ear to my words, O LORD; consider my meditation." (Psalm 5:1)

We're going to meditate (sometimes ruminate) on something. Might as well be God's ways and His Word. Think about how often you find your mind idly scrolling through things to chew on them... sometimes those "things" are good and helpful, making you feel built up and energized. But, if we were honest, a lot of times those "things" we ruminate on aren't good (like negative memories or arguments or the way we were treated in the past). These thoughts drain our energy, deplete our joy and leave us feeling angry, sad, bitter, resentful. Biblical meditation gives us a focus for our thoughts. We discipline our minds and train ourselves to think on good things. (see Phil. 4) That first verse I mentioned above (Psalm 19:14) is talking about exactly this.

Elmer breaks his book into chunks by following the example of certain key Biblical figures, like David, Mary, John the Beloved, Paul, etc. Then, using Scripture, he shows us how that person meditated. David was a man after God's own heart (God's testimony about him). He chased after God's heart by trying to understand God. John beheld (saw and studied) the love of God. (see 1 John 3:1)

It's fitting this time of year to be like Mary and ponder Jesus in our hearts. The Bible says Mary pondered these sayings in her heart, that she "kept all these things and pondered them in her heart." (see Luke 2:19, 51) It doesn't say that she analyzed them and cut them apart for examination. It says she pondered them--considered the things which had happened and were happening through a lens of loving meditation.

According to Elmer Towns, to meditate like Mary did, you

~meditate on the Bible's account of the life of Jesus
~consider Jesus' life and resurrection
~recall your own conversion experience and
~ponder what it means that Jesus saved (rescued, died for, delivered, etc.) you.

When a sweetheart receives a letter from her beloved, she reads the note with a loving heart. She already trusts the one who sent it, so she doesn't question or accuse, but rather uses the opportunity to see deeper into his heart, to learn about him, to hear his secret thoughts and grow in intimacy with him. That's a wonderful perspective (thanks to Elmer's chapter on Mary) for us to read the Bible through, like a lens. If it's not your standard way of reading the Word, give it a try, even on the hard to understand portions or the chapters that seem harsh. Dig deeper. What's in the heart of God in those places waiting to be discovered?

This season, let's ponder our Beloved in our hearts, reading the Word through a lens of love.

Merry Christmas season!

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