Meditation through the Devotional Method of Scripture Reading

When I applied the devotional method (described in my last post) to Galatians 2:20, I began with prayer, thanking God for His revelation of the truth to me through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then I read the verse and meditated upon it. Here is the passage:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

As I meditated on this verse, allowing the Spirit to guide me, I was taken to a state where I could actually see what God is showing me. I wrote: “I am at the cross, amid the mourners and the scoffers. Here my Lord is on the cross, suffering an unimaginable burden for the sins of myself and all the world. No one but perhaps His dear, blessed mother has any understanding that what He had come to earth to do was made manifest at this very moment. Suddenly I am on the cross with Him, looking through His ravished eyes. I see the onlookers, the thieves hung on either side of me, the gathering clouds, the beautiful city of Jerusalem in the distance, and the temple. Now I feel His incredible, indescribable love for our Father and for all and my heart is broken into a billion pieces. I cannot feel the burden of the sins that He carries, because that burden is for Him alone. I feel the crushing pain of His abused and bruised body, the feeling of His splayed back against the rough wood, how His lungs strain to take air in. I feel the nails in His hands and feet like an incessant torment driving through pulverized bones. I am being crucified with Christ, and I weep for the sins He has to bear for my sake, the pain He has to endure so that when I, over two thousand years later, come to the foot of this cross with my own brokeness and confess Him as my Lord and Savior, believing that He indeed has died for my sins – past, present and future – and that three days later He was risen from the dead, resurrected by the very same Holy Ghost that has brought me to this pivotal moment. I realize that Jesus IS the great I AM, and in His infinite love for me, gave His very life on my behalf. I now feel Him proclaim that “It is finished,” and then take His last breath. He is now IN ME and I IN HIM – I am indeed a NEW creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17) , and when they take His body off the cross, my old, fleshy nature, what is called the ‘old man’, remains on it. I am brought back to my kneeling body, tears streaming down my eyes, and understand more than ever before that the life that I now live is by faith in Him, who gave His life for me because of His LOVE, because He IS LOVE.

Ask God to give you a revelation of His love for you as you mediate on a scripture. Surrender your entire being to Him; throw yourself at His feet. Perhaps your experience will be different from mine. Meditation is deep thinking, and when utilized through the Holy Spirit, will always give you greater insight into whatever scripture you read. You will find the Bible verses coming alive as the word of God reveals itself to you, as it is meant to.

My next blog post will go into greater depth concerning how to paraphrase and personalize the scripture you are studying using the devotional method.

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Crucified With Christ

Last week, as a Bible study homework assignment, I was to pick a verse from the 2nd chapter of Galatians and present my results using the ‘Devotional Method’. Without going into great detail (which I will in a later post), the Devotional Method involves picking a Bible verse, then reading it several times carefully with a prayerful attitude, seeking God’s wisdom and guidance to help you understand it. Then meditate on the verse: see yourself there as the scripture unfolds, imagine how you would feel in that time and place, and also do an exercise where you emphasize one word at a time in the verse, to help you appreciate the magnitude of the verse. For instance, using the first part of Galatians 2:20, read it as “I have been crucified with Christ,” “I HAVE been crucified with Christ,” “I have BEEN crucified with Christ” and so on. Each reading gives you deeper insight into what the Holy Spirit is conveying to you.

It is helpful to paraphrase the chosen verse, also, for it makes the scripture come more alive in your heart and mind. Personalize the verse by replacing your name with the pronouns or nouns, and witness the impact it has on you. “Jay has been crucified with Christ; it is no longer Jay who lives, but Christ lives in Jay; and the life which Jay now lives in the flesh, Jay lives by faith in the Son of God, who loved Jay and gave Himself for Jay.” 

Use the acrostic “SPACEPETS” to delve deeper into the verse:

Is there a Sin to confess? Do you need to repent of anything related to this verse?

Promise to claim? Is is a universal promise, and have you met its conditions?

Attitude to change? Are you willing to work on a negative attitude and build on a positive one?

Command to obey? Are you willing to do it no matter what?

Example to follow? Is it a positive example to be followed or a negative one to avoid?

Prayer to pray? Take this scripture to the Father for understanding.

Error to avoid? Is there a warning to be aware of or be alert to?

Truth to believe? What new things can you learn about the triune God or other biblical teachings?

Something to be grateful for? Something to praise God for?

Now write an application of the things  you’ve discovered. It should be personal: when you write, use the first person singular. Make it practical: it ought to be something you can do, a course of action you can take; make it specific, not with generalities. It should be possible: something you know you can accomplish, and finally, it should be provable; set up a time limit, a follow-up to measure your success.

Memorize the verse, so that you can meditate and pray on it often.

The goal of the Devotional Method is to help you become more like Jesus. You have to apply the biblical insights God gives you, so you can grow spiritually and become a more effective child of our Heavenly Father.

Tomorrow I’m going to share with you my personal utilization of the Devotional Method using Galatians 2:20. You’ll hopefully be able to see how the verse comes alive, vibrant and full of love.

May Christ continue to dwell in your heart and mind, my fellow saint. If you are reading this and are not a Christian, I welcome your presence and input. Know that God loves you completely and is eager to talk to you through His Word.

Broken

broken_wing

My left shoulder was so damaged that the Ortho Drs could not repair or replace it conventionally, so they had to do a ‘reverse total shoulder arthroplasty’. I am now in a large, bulky and cumbersome immobilization device designed to keep my shoulder from falling apart until it’s had time to heal. This could take up to two months.

From the instant I awoke in recovery I was in the clutches of pain I’d never known or imagined. At one point I began confessing to every crime committed in the past 1,500 years. Even now, 6 days after surgery and at home, it continues to demand center stage of my consciousness. However, from the instant I awoke in recovery and up to now, the image and presence of Christ has been with me like a lighthouse of love and hope. It has not reduced my pain by one iota, but as long as I keep Him center stage, He helps me grow in understanding, compassion and gratitude. This experience is now an integral part of my testimony as it strengthens my faith and solidifies my belief in Jesus as my one and only Lord, and in whom I can trust will be with me no matter what. “Lo, I am with you always” indeed! (Matthew 28:20)

I was commissioned and led by the Holy Spirit to write a sonnet each day for certain scriptures given to me, with the very clear intent to help new disciples understand the word and the Word more fully. That was over two and a half years ago. This intense labor of love produced two self-published books: Sonnets in the Key of Christ and Devotions for the Child of God: A Year of Sonnetized Scriptures. These past couple of months it felt as if this mission might be coming to a close, and I began to pray for a sign of closure. I believe this shoulder incident qualifies as an adequate sign, don’t you? As I heal, my eyes and ears and mind and heart and soul are receptive and eager to serve Christ in whatever capacity He desires. I promise to keep you updated here regardless.

Thank you for your prayers. I love you as Jesus loves me.

3-1-16: An Unexpected Turn of Events

My friends,

As you will soon discover, I’ve got very little energy today to relate the accounts of the past few days, so I’m going to use an edited version of this email to post as a blog article so that those who read my words on a regular basis will know why they haven’t heard from me for awhile.

My sister Marie and I drove to Houston without incident to retrieve our sister Beth’s ashes and to join in grieving our loss and celebrating her gain with her daughter and our niece. Beth’s cremains were to be made available Friday afternoon, so while the women went to the facility to get them, my niece’s husband Jonathan and I went to the theater to see a movie.

When the movie was over both Jonathan and I had to go to the bathroom, so we left the darkened theater with that intent. As I walked out of the theater door and into the hallway I did not see that an employees had stacked booster seats against the wall three deep and slightly over the edge of the corner. My foot caught one of the seats and I went down HARD on my left shoulder.

At first I thought the pain I felt in my shoulder was 99% pride and 1% bruise, but when I went to get up the pain intensified to ‘I think i’m going to be sick.’ I could move my fingers and wrist, but not my elbow or shoulder. My nephew asked if I was all right and I replied that I think I had dislocated it. I asked for an ambulance, thinking some paramedic who had stayed awake in class would be able to reduce the dislocation. I’d never had one before, but it sure FELT like one. I heard my nephew (an imposing fellow) say to someone “What the hell are you doing? Call an ambulance, for Christ’s sake!” (I later discovered it was an employee who was brooming refuge into a small dustpan with a handle) From my position on the floor I could see nothing but the mountain of booster seats in front of me. In a few seconds my nephew barked “Don’t touch anything!” and I thought ‘good thinking, in case I die and CSI needs to process the scene’. I watch far too much CSI. The pain in my left shoulder was beginning to assert itself more by the minute.

Soon a wonderful young lady bearing all the markings of a Paramedic came and knelt down beside me just as a theater employee carrying a clipboard stood at my other side and bent over. They both began to ask me questions in rapid succession and I answered them. The theater guy wanted demographics, the Paramedic wanted a health inventory and I wanted to be knocked out because the pain had begun to affect the Richter scale. Soon enough, though, the medics cut my shirt and good jacket off and had me on a stretcher. The young lady started an IV on me and said she had given me something for pain although whatever it was didn’t come close to putting a dent into the agony I now felt.

We went to Bayshore Medical Center in Pasadena. My sister and niece were there waiting for me. I had Xrays and a CT scan – thank GOD no one asked me to move my arm which was planted firmly against my body – and when the Dr came back, she told me I had literally shattered the ball of my humerus (the humeral head) and that I would need surgery. This is where the situation became dicey. Because the only insurance I have is through the VA, I knew very well that the VA policy states once I am stabilized I have to be transported to a VA facility or the VA would not pay for it. Fortunately, the greater Houston area has a great hospital system. Unfortunately, my sister HAD to leave the following day to get back to Alabama, and if I were left behind in Houston I would be stranded. The VA would not pay for my transportation from Houston to Alabama, either. After my total hip replacement last year the VA sent me to the rehab facility in Florence in an ambulance, and I’m stuck paying the $2,000 bill.

SO, we decided to have the ER doc provide me with enough pain meds to get me to the Birmingham, AL VA hospital, and my sister and I set out to make the trip back. You can’t fully appreciate the quality of each state’s upkeep of their roads until you’ve taken them at 70 MPH with a shattered shoulder. All I can say is THANK YOU MISSISSIPPI.

The Birmingham VA staff were excellent, and even though they had to redo my Xrays and CT scan, the tests were performed efficiently and with great compassion. I was loaded up with even better pain meds, a better splint, and sent home with the promise that I would get a call the next day to set me up with pre-op workups (to make sure my ticker and other stuff could stand surgery – as if there were a choice) and surgery to follow the next day.

According to the Ortho doc, I will have to undergo a total shoulder replacement. There are a couple of downsides to this. First, I was suppose to have my right total hip replacement done next month. Now that will have to be put on hold. Also, I’m left handed, and it is my left shoulder to get rebuilt. That means I either have to get help, or if I can do it myself it will take twice as long (such as this letter).

Here is a question for you: should the theater be held liable beyond the cost of ambulance transportation to the hospital and the Bayshore ER visit?

2-26-16 Seeking Riches

greed

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

1 Timothy 6:9 KJV

           ~~~~~~~~~~~

Too much can not be said about the sin

Of seeking to be rich above all else,

For when the lust for gold within begin,

The love of God and Christ most surely melts.

A strong foundation builds a sturdy house,

So let the Rock of Ages cleft for you,

But if you build on greed you then espouse

The love for worldly things you should eschew.

A foolish man will do some hurtful things

In order to obtain abundant wealth.

It’s hard to stem the selfishness this brings

And easy to forget supernal health.

           Put all your faith in Heaven’s Kingdom now

           Don’t let the love of riches strike your brow.

           ~~~~~~~~~~~

REMEMBER: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 KJV)