Archive for the ‘Time with God’ Category

Fill ‘er up!

Meditation is a cultural buzz word these days. I hear it everywhere from Dr. Oz to Julia Roberts. It seems as if this word is thrown around like a Frisbee to anyone who wants to play! And I know that I’m stepping into controversial waters with some, but I just have to say . . .

I don’t believe that Christian meditation and eastern meditation (or perhaps more appropriately, “popular meditation”) are the same thing.

Eastern mediation involves emptying your mind. Your only focus—if any—should be on your breathing. The goal is to reach the state of No Mind,” which is praised in Zen literature.

In contrast, Christian meditation is about filling your mind with God’s truth, His Word and listening for His still small voice. Instead of pursuing “No Mind,” it is taking on the Mind of Christ.”

First of All

I think many are being duped into thinking that one is as good as the other. In my opinion, there is no comparison. One may bring calmness, but the other brings truth and life. I also believe that although eastern meditation may bring a sense of calmness, it’s a dangerous practice that leaves you open and vulnerable to spiritual influences. Remember, you are to . . .

“Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (CEV)

And

“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:11 (NLT)

Second of All

Even though “meditation” has become popular in our culture, for Christians, it is an often neglected yet important spiritual practice. Just as our gas tanks run empty, so do our spiritual tanks. We need to “fill ‘er up” so to speak and here are some ways to do so with meditation . . .

Ways to Meditate

  1. Memorize a Bible verse and meditate on it when you’re facing a stressful, tempting or painful moment.
  2. Pray a Bible verse, using your name or personal pronouns where appropriate.
  3. Read over a special verse, stopping and focusing on the first word to really absorb its meaning. Then reread the verse focusing on the second word this time. Repeat until each word has been given special focus. Consider if the verse has taken on a new meaning to you.
  4. Envision a Bible passage, such as the 23rd Psalm. Imagine a scene with Christ, as your Shepherd, leading you beside still waters, etc. What does it feel like? Look like? Smell like?

These are just a sampling of ways. It certainly is not an exhaustive list.

Do you have some ways that you meditate on God and His Word? If so, share your ideas with us!

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Advertisements

Making Time for God

I’m a ritual loving girl. I love getting up in the morning, exercising, eating my breakfast (steel cut oatmeal with fruit along with a cup of coffee).

When I can, I love taking another coffee break in the afternoon, while I chill with Dr. Phil or with a good book or some fun blog surfing.

I love going to my small group Bible study at Borders every Thursday morning and getting my raspberry latte, fat-free, extra hot from my favorite barista, Angela.

I love having a cup of tea or hot cider in the evening with my hubby while we talk or watch a favorite tv show together.

But most importantly, I love making time each day to meet with God through my Bible reading and prayer.

When I don’t get to do one of my “rituals,” I feel deprived and out-of-whack. And when I don’t get to spend time with God daily, I find that I also experience so much more stress, conflict and discontentment than I do on the days when my ritual has been kept.

I have made a habit or ritual of meeting with God since I was a teen, so it’s deeply embedded in my daily routine. But for many, this practice is hard to develop. So I wanted to suggest that perhaps you need to make your daily time with God a “ritual.”

And the way that you make it a ritual is by…

  • Keeping it at or near the same time each day
  • Building it around other pleasurable rituals

For me, I have my morning cup of coffee during my time with God. That gives me an “I-can’t-wait-to get-to-it” feeling, thereby associating and reinforcing a positive experience with my time with God.

  • Setting the mood

I love to plug in my iPod and listen to soothing music while I read and pray. The point is to block out distractions and give yourself a private space to meet with God. Now, if you have young children, you might not be able to “block out any distraction” completely, so be sure to choose a time when they are either napping or being watched by your hubby.

If these suggestions don’t help, then you might want to also…

  • Seek out accountability

Find a friend who will ask you on a regular basis about what you’ve read this past week or how your time with God is going.

  • Keep a checklist

If you have a checklist, you’re much more apt to stick with the commitment you are making. It’s simply a way to be accountable to yourself.

  • Join a Bible study group

This is helpful even if you’re already making time for God daily, but especially if you just need to learn how to study your Bible and want the support of friends to help you form the habit ritual.

So, tell me what keeps you on track with your time with God?

Or, tell me what gets you off track, and I’ll promise to pray for you!