Tag Archives: meditate

Do not fear

Do not fear.

We are told this 365 times in the Bible, once for every day of the year. Why do you suppose that is? God always reveals to us what is important for us and what is essential for living vital and abundant lives. We can presume this phrase is used so frequently because it’s an attitude of our heart and our mind that prevails over our lives. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like fear. It seems more like anxiety or stress or worry or a certain preoccupation. It manifests itself When we become impatient with others, ourselves, or even God. But what it really is, if we take off the final mask, is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of feeling inadequate and useless. Fear that God’s promises aren’t really true, fear of being alone.

Whatever it is, God’s response is always, “Do not fear.” Do not fear, I am with you. Do not fear, I will never leave you. Do not fear, my grace is sufficient for all your needs. Do not fear, all things do work out for good  for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

“Do not fear” always  requires trust. We can trust ourselves, someone else, in accomplishments or in things and accumulations. But ultimately “do not fear” means trusting God for what he says is true, for what he has done, for what he is doing now that we cannot see, and for how he will ultimately prevail over every circumstance in our lives. Consider Isaiah 43:1–3:

” but now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Maybe you’re one who finds it easy to memorize entire passages like this one.  Often, for me, I need to break this down into smaller bits that I can grasp.  I connect these like train cars, connected together to the Power of the engine that can pull the true weight of the message I need  to carry from my head to my heart.  The “cars” in this passage are found in the operative words “I have redeemed you,” “I have summoned you by name. These are connected with “you are mine,” and “I will be with you.” The “engine” in this analogy is of course, God’s faithfulness, unending love, and amazing grace.  So I repeat these phrases over and over in my mind and on my lips:

I have redeemed you,

I have summoned you by name,

You are mine.

I will be with you.

Repeat this several times out loud. Shut out the rest of the world for even a minute or two. Let truth replace lies. As you keep meditating on these fundamental truths, can you sense the power, not of repeated chants, but the power of the one who first spoke them into being when he created you?  We can perseverate on problems or meditate on the solutions to our cares. It’s a choice we make hundreds of times a day,  to focus on our problems or to turn our eyes upon Jesus.

What ever the problems that beset us we can say to ourselves “do not fear” because we who believe in Jesus belong to the king of kings, to the lord God Almighty.

A quieter, gentler world



Maybe I’m just getting old. They say, “You know you’re getting old when any sound you don’t make bothers you.” But really, don’t you find life can be too noisy?! And does it seem to you that it is getting noisier all the time? Machines whirring, constant chatter, more and more people in a hurry and eager to beep their horns, and always – I mean always – something close by beeping some reminder at you. Then there is the ‘noise’ of fast paced living. Even in the absence of sounds, the level of activity itself seems ‘noisy.’


If you have encountered any sort of life changing trauma, be it cancer, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or some chronic pain, you know that even soundless tension can also register as noise and set your spirit on edge. I experienced this when I contracted Tinnitus. It was as if a switch went On that I could never turn Off. The ringing in my ears was and is like the whine of a jet engine that never goes away. Fifteen years later, I still long for “the sounds of silence.” Perhaps you’ve been in a situation where you’ve had to closely attend to medical routines, medications, or pain levels. So much mental focus becomes unbearably ‘noisy’.


If you endure such an experience, you might come to experience an appreciation for a quieter, slower pace of life. Some things that once seemed urgent become less important. It’s fine to want to be excellent in what you do, but it really doesn’t add any value if you sand the studs before you put on the drywall, if you know what I mean.


There are seasons of life that are busier and noisier than others and we all have to get through those and enjoy them the best we can. But if you find that life has become too noisy and hectic, perhaps it is time to make a list of how you can slow down. In business we used to ask, “What needs to stop and what needs to start?” “What do we need to do less of (or stop doing entirely because it just wastes time) and what do I need to do more of?” Try it. You’ll be glad you did if it leads you to slow down and enjoy a bit more peace in your life. And for ultimate peace, turn down the noise in your life and turn to God. Spend quiet time meditating on and memorizing His Word. If you are too busy for God, you might be too busy.


“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3



Remain quiet a little longer



P1020421 Do you know what these are? They are called onggi, Korean fermenting pots. We saw these in an historical palace and also in the patios and rooftops of houses and restaurants throughout the cities. They have been used for the last 6000-7000 years to create unique sauces made from foods such as red chili peppers, beans and rice paste, cabbage, soy sauce. Not exactly fast food, it takes months to prepare the specialty sauces. I think fermented foods demand an acquired taste and obviously requires much patience to obtain the final product.


There is a similar concept applied to thinking that also has been around for thousands of years: meditation. From the beginning of history, God’s people were instructed to meditate on His Word, day and night. To meditate means to think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time. Some synonymous words include: contemplate, think, consider, ponder, muse, reflect, deliberate, ruminate, brood, mull over. Meditation is not like reading the headlines of the news. It is thinking deeply about something, not unlike letting it ferment in your mind, breaking down the large ideas and letting them stew until you can absorb the richness of flavor offered by truth.


Like fermented foods, meditation requires patience and deliberation. We in the western world are not very accustomed to fermented foods or to meditated thinking. We’d rather go for a quick bite to eat and listen to 30 second “sound bites’. We can all understand this: meditation, like preparing a thickened sauce, takes time. And we are all so famously busy in this fast paced day and age. We might not know where our busy life is taking us but we are getting there so very quickly! Like the husband who says, to his wife while driving, “I know we are lost but we can’t stop now because we are making such good time!”  We encounter problems and want quick and easy solutions, ones that cut to the chase. That approach to solving problems works with some things. But some problems and trials in life are more complex and require more complex solutions.


The problems of pain and suffering, disappointment, grief, injustice and feeling unfulfilled are not resolved by a diet of fast food problem solving. The more one has contemplated and meditated on God’s truths, the more one is prepared to work through these issues with a greater sense of satisfaction and acceptance.


But it takes time. And none of us can add a single second to our days. We have to choose how to invest our time. Choose today to remain quiet a little longer. You can do it. Let your thoughts ponder the wonders of God, the miracle of His presence, His unending love and His amazing grace, even the miracle that He created in you. Do this every day and throughout the day so you can be strong and courageous, ‘prosperous and successful’ in the things that matter most.


“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9



Keys to happiness

To the degree that human prose complements scripture, let us drink in that which refreshes. To the degree that it conflicts with scripture, let it go. Read slowly and reflect on the points from the Desiderata that most genuinely speak to your heart today. Meditate on those that bring you closer to the one true God and at peace with him and his plans for you:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”, 1927