Meditation Builds Spiritual Strength

download (2)Do you ever wonder why sometimes you feel spiritually weak?  Check your levels of meditation. I can’t even list how many times in scripture God encourages us to meditate on his words.   There’s something wonderful that happens when we read and think about the words of God.  Not only do you begin to take in the true meaning of the words but they actually begin to change your thought process.

You see, as you think and think over the words again, they become a part of your mind and your heart.  Eventually, it will come out in our actions.  David said, “thy word have I  hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).  It is harder to ignore that voice in your head warning you against doing wrong when that voice has been allowed to drill into your mind.

I was reading a passage in Joshua, Chapter 1, verse 8 that caught my eye.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

You may say how can I meditate day and night?   It’s just like when you eat a good meal and you remember that meal.  You bring it back up in conversation and may encourage a friend to try the dish or the restaurant where it was served.    When something is good to you, it will come back up and you’ll think about it.

Meditation is an exercise of the mind.  You become more spiritual when you think on the Word of God, which Christ said is the bread of life. Christ is the Word and the Word gives life to our spirit.   When we take in what is right, our spirit will reject what is wrong

When we take in what is right, our spirit will reject what is wrong and sinful.  We will lose our taste for wrongdoing if we take in and meditate on His words.  Sure, the flesh will always want wrong but we will find a strength to say no.  Our desires will change toward good and our heart will be affected by the power of divinely inspired words.

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This, Too, Shall Pass

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The Bible uses the phrase “and it came to pass” repeatedly to signify that something has transpired or an event has occurred. It is usually accompanied by some version of the following familiar story:

During a Sunday class, the question was asked, “In your time of discouragement, what is your favorite scripture?”

A young man said, “’The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,’ Psalm 23:1.” A middle-aged woman said, “‘God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,’ Psalm 46:1.” Another woman said, “‘In this world, you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world,’ John 16:33-35.”

Then Mr. John, who was eighty years old, and had a head of white hair and dark black skin, stood up and said with as much strength as he could muster, “It says, ‘And it came to pass…’ eighty-five times in the Bible.” The class started to laugh a little, thinking that old Mr. John’s lack of memory was getting the best of him.

When the snickering stopped, he said, “At thirty, I lost my job with six hungry mouths and a wife to feed. I didn’t know how I would make it. At forty, my eldest son was killed overseas in the war. It knocked me down. At fifty, my house burned to the ground. Nothing was saved out of the house. At sixty, my wife of forty years got cancer. It slowly ate away at her. We cried together many a night on our knees in prayer. At sixty-five, she died. I still miss her today.

“The agony I went through in each of these situations was unbelievable. I wondered where God was. But each time I looked in the Bible and I saw one of those eighty-five verses that said, ‘And it came to pass,’ I felt God was telling me that my pain and my circumstances were also going to pass and that God would get me through them.”[1]

[1] Stephen Sheane, “The Table of the Shewbread,” http://www.sermoncentral.com/illustrations/illustrations-about-influence.asp?Keyword=Influence [accessed May 25, 2011].

Excerpt from– How to Walk on Water   DOWNLOAD THE BOOK

One Dream Becomes Reality

If you are old enough to have watched television in the 1970s, you remember George Jefferson, the African-American neighbor of bigoted Archie Bunker in “All in the Family” who went from living in a modest home to a penthouse with a live-in maid. The show’s theme song was “Movin’ on Up.” If you in financial difficulty, God has his own time to move us from the prison to the palace.

The time we spent saving our house was for a reason. Sometimes we said, “Let’s just let it go and start over.” But God had a reason for keeping us in the frame of mind to keep it. And lo and behold, we had a huge amount of equity in our property despite the fact that we weren’t smart enough or savvy enough to have refinanced our property multiple times. And of course, we were unemployed! So after I worked for three years, Gino received the vision and burden to move. So we mapped out the best areas for education for our three children, but we were still open for other ideas.

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We had been living next to an affluent area called Beverly, which had nice houses and mansions. I had lived in the adjacent areas most of life, so I knew that area was out of our reach financially.  It was like being in the friend zone. Next the person all the time, but no relationship.

I had always walked through that neighborhood, looking at the tree-lined streets and valuable homes, with their distinct landscaping, and historical/landmark placards and thought, Well maybe one day, when Gino and I retire, we’ll be able to afford something here.

There was one house I really loved, but it didn’t have much closet space.  It was in the school district we wanted to be in, though, and it was a good financial buy because the houses were selling quite high in that area.  It sat and sat and sat and sat; no one wanted to put a contract on it. It was a perfectly good home that had been sitting for about nine months by the time we looked at it.  The owners accepted our offer and we moved into our dream neighborhood that I never thought we’d move into in my lifetime. It certainly wasn’t our real estate savvy or intellect that got us what we have—it was entirely the Lord. As always, all glory goes to Him.

Looking back, I don’t know how we went through hospitalizations, job injuries, financial ruin, employment problems, deaths, and illnesses on both sides of the family, in addition to church turmoil. Whew!

It was during the early years of these trials that God gave me the Psalm 37 formula for overcoming a trial, which I outline in this book, which has guided me through many heartaches and difficulties in my personal walk.  I have not been through everything; maybe I haven’t even been through as much as some, but I’ve been through enough to realize that all power belongs to God and He turns our lives however He chooses. We just have to hold His hand through all the twists and turns.

Through all this, I learned to trust God with my life—my money, my time, and my future.  I learned to rest even when it seemed I should not be resting.

I learned to wait because I never knew what God was trying to work, not only in my life but also in the lives of others during that time.

It took us years to recover from having little or no income, but now I walk down the streets of my beautiful neighborhood and tears come to my eyes because I know where God brought me from spiritually and naturally. Gino and I have never forgotten having so many bills and so little money.

We are just happy to have received God’s favor.

Feel free to leave your story:

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$4,000 In One Day Is Not Too Hard for God….

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We needed $4,000 to pay the mortgage again, and the lawyers gave us a two-week deadline. We were desperate, and I couldn’t seem to find a solution in my head. I thought maybe we could borrow small amounts from several people, but a week went by and still so solution.  I thought, “Well, it is what it is and the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.”  I began to think of other places to live. Some may call this response a lack of faith, but I was being realistic.  I didn’t know what God ‘s will was in this situation.  He began to bring a certain sister to my mind—strongly.  I told my husband about this and he said this same sister had come to his mind, too. But she was not a blood relative and we were not close friends. She was a good, honest saint I had worshiped with, but she did not really know me. So how were we going to ask her for that kind of money?

I called her and explained that I needed help on a matter but was not sure how she would be able to help me.  She said, “Well, God already let me know that you all needed some help, so how much to you need?”

I thought the words were going to choke in my throat. “$4,000,” I said quietly.  You know how in your mind, you can’t fix your mouth to say the full amount but I figured that was close enough and we could find the rest somewhere else.

“That’s around the amount God told me you needed,” she said.

“Well,” I said bracing myself,  “It’s really more like $4,400, but if you can help some, that would be great.”

“I can handle that,” she said. “When do you need it?”

I gave her the schedule and she told me to bring the lawyer’s letter to her on Friday so she could get a cashier’s check to the proper parties by Sunday.  She was so gracious that she told us not to worry about when we’d paid her back until we got on our feet. She was true to her word and didn’t seem to worry about it.  Even after we got settled financially in more secure jobs, she told us to take our time.  She truly had the gift of giving and we paid her back in full.

A Package Just in Time

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Here is another story of God working on our behalf.  During one of the many times we had fallen behind on our mortgage, the mortgage company threatened us with foreclosure. This is it; we thought. This time we’re going to lose our home. The lawyers sent us a letter and told us we had to have $2,000 in their office by the next week, or they were going to proceed with foreclosure.

None of our friends really knew how much we needed; Gino just asked for prayer during church services about a “business matter.”  That was on a Friday. Sunday night after service, a dear sister approached us and said that ever since she heard our request, God would not let her alone. She felt burdened to give us a sum of money to the point that she said she did not want to disobey God.

This was a humbling experience; we almost felt ashamed to take any money from her, though we were both certain she wasn’t going to give us any amount that would be terribly helpful. She also said that she told her mother about her burden, and her mother had an envelope for us, as well. She handed my husband both envelopes and told us she was glad to get God off her. We thanked her, thinking it was so nice, but that we were still in trouble.  $2000 was a large sum of money.

On the way home, I opened the first envelope.  $1,000 in cash.  I opened the second one and found another $1,000 in cash.  We were speechless. Of course, we immediately put it in cashier check form and took it to the lawyer’s office. God had miraculously worked on our behalf.  If God has ever so precisely met your needs, you know that this type of blessing is extremely humbling. It does not make you proud or lifted up; it makes you awestruck beyond all reason because it puts you face to face with a real God who can meet real needs.