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Mountain Top Reflections

Mountain Top Reflections

 

We live in a hilly area of California. The other day I took a walk up to a high point in our neighborhood that overlooks the valley below. It provided a respite from the busyness of life; a place to be still and quiet in God’s presence, and to hear His voice.

As I looked over the mountains, the beauty and complexity of God’s creation amazed me. I thought, what a peaceful and revitalizing time it must have been for Jesus to escape from the multitudes to a mountain to be alone with God, to be still in His Father’s presence, to pray, to reflect. Did He just sit there and feel the gentle breeze across His skin as I am now?

As I looked over the expanse, I reflected upon God’s creation and all He has given us to enjoy, and the perfection of how everything works in harmony. But then a sharp pain pierced my soul as I thought about how many people never consider God and what He has done – how for so many years I didn’t. As my eyes fell upon the houses built into the mountainside, I thought about how people look to their own strength, provision and protection, something I’ve often done. They think they provide and protect when in a moment the God they forget could make those mountains crumble – those mountains they feel so secure upon in their houses – houses full of their precious treasures like their spouse, children, and pets.

Who are we to think we protect or provide? How quickly we could be crushed? Haven’t we learned from floods, earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes that we aren’t in control? That we are dependent on God’s mercy? What arrogance to think we are the providers, protectors, sustainers of life . . . that we are in control. How arrogant to forget our God when His beauty, complexity and order are all around us are screaming about His power, might and love. Without His mercy, we would all perish.

When Jesus was on the mountain – did He think a similar thing? Did He think about all He has done for us and all He was about to do and yet now we continue to turn our back on Him, reject Him, think we know better, don’t heed His Words, don’t spend time with Him, and don’t trust Him?

How sad it must make Him even now, when He has done so much for us, and we continue to reject His true lordship and kingdom in our lives. He has created a world that reveals His wisdom, perfection and love. Yet, we don’t exalt Him but we exalt ourselves. Even though we continue to deny Him and go our own way, He continues to preserve us. Even for those who do intimately know Him, how often we slip into thinking we are in control. We get consumed with worry, when He has done so much for us. God forgive us.

This mountain top experience was very humbling. And yet, it was full of powerful moments of praise for all that God has done, does do and will do. God’s love and patience overwhelms me.

May we daily have mountain top reflections that puts our perspective in the right place and reminds of us who we are, who our God is, and how much He loves us and pours His mercy upon us and that it is His work and not ours to be exalted.

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Biblical Meditation

Biblical Meditation

 

Don’t worry . . . I haven’t been corrupted by eastern religion, but I have found a nugget of truth in amongst their practices . . . meditation. However, biblical meditation isn’t an emptying of the mind, but a focused filling of God’s truth.

I recently started practicing a few minutes of meditation after my quiet time each day. After I shut my Bible and my notebook I close my eyes, relax my body, and sit in silence and solitude dwelling in my Lord’s presence. Even with the short amount of time I spend in this simple act, I am amazed at the effects it has on my spirit. I have found being in a meditative state is empowering in many ways and here are a few:

• It evokes a state of trust in God’s power and not my efforts. When I feel I should be getting on with the day, I sit still and focus on Him. It forces me to trust Him to be my strength to accomplish all that I need to that day because I am not rushing off, but simply being with Him. The days I have the most do to are the hardest to be still but those are the days I need it the most.

• It encourages me because I am focusing on one or more attributes of God or a verse. For example, I may focus on His love and its consuming nature in my life. How I feel after spending 5-10 minutes focusing on any of His attributes or truths after being in His Word is solid, grounded, secure, hopeful, strengthened and grateful. The two working together, abiding in and meditating on His Word, put me in the right frame of mind for whatever lies ahead that day.

• It puts me in a mindset of resting in Him. I am a proficient task master. The under current of my life is efficiency and getting things done. Meditating forces me to come out of that state of mind and simply rest. The unwinding and letting go does wonders for my soul, mind and body. I am trying to incorporate that state of rest throughout the day and starting it off with meditation is fundamental.

The practice of meditation has gotten a bad rap because of pagan associations or no rap at all in the Christian community. As a result, we are missing out on the benefits of being still and knowing God is God in our lives. We need this discipline more than ever before in our busy, over-stimulating, and demanding world. Not to mention, in a world that has forgotten the power of God and relies on man’s power, intellect, wisdom and strength. We have been so inundated with doing and we have lost the art of being.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Our duty is to call upon God, believe, trust and rest in Him. His part is to work through us, but many of us try to take on His job. Biblical meditation, being still in presence of God and focusing on His truth, helps to train us to do our part and let Him do His. It prepares our minds to let go and let Him work through us and not in our own strength.

If you aren’t currently spending time each day meditating after being in His Word, I would encourage you to try it.  If you are like me you will find it difficult to be still. Our restlessness reveals how much we don’t trust and rest in Him as He commands us. But as we continue to be still, our spirits learn to give in and let go. It is a simple act that accomplishes a lot in our lives as are most things with God. In addition, when we stop and enter into a state of trust and rest we honor God because we are acknowledging Him as God in our lives.

Here is a link to an article with some interesting points and ideas on biblical meditation.