Archive for the ‘Meditations’ Category

What Voices Are You Listening To?

Posted: August 13, 2015 by abestratton in Meditations, Prayer

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:15-16)

     abba fatherGracious Father, on any given day, there are a number of voices contending for my thought life. There are the voices of my past, sometimes yammering loudly… sometimes just nickel-and-diming my peace away with the refrain “If people really knew who you… You still don’t have a clue, do you? You’ll never really amount to much.”

     Then there are the voices of my present, often hijacked by the defeated enemy, Satan. His incessant scheme is to tempt me, seduce me, then condemn me—doing anything and everything possible to rob my enjoyment of the gospel. Sometimes he shouts, more often he whispers, always he’s conniving and always he’s condemning.

     Then there’s the voices from the future, usually fueling my fears with suggestions like, “You’re not as sharp as you used to be, are you? You’ll probably be forgotten, won’t you? You’ll probably end up all alone, right?”

     But, most present and persistent Father, then there’s the voice of the Holy Spirit…O, how I praise you for that One voice which transcends and trumps every other voice—the gossiper of the gospel… the herald of healing… the bearer of beauty… the messenger of mercy… the singer of sanity… the cantor of Christ… God the Holy Spirit testifying with our spirit that we are your bought, belonging and beloved children!

     Abba, Father, may the Spirit of sonship continue to free me from all of my slavish fears—past, present and future, and free me for a life of the glorious freedom of the sons and daughters of the living God. May the Spirit speak so loudly and convincingly, as to drown out all the other voices vying for my attention. Transform me by the renewing of my mind as the Holy Spirit teaches me more and more about the wonders of sonship. So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ triumphant name.

Scotty Smith’s Everyday Prayers

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The Beginning

Posted: April 20, 2014 by abestratton in Articles, Meditations, Resources

I love this meditation by Andrew Peterson, taken from his “Resurrection Letters: Meditations on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ.”

The blue-green earth turns on its axis, rolling Jerusalem into the light of the sun. It turns
like a door swinging open, pouring light into a dark room.
Jesus inhales.
His flesh and blood lungs expand, retract; the pupils of his eyes adjust to the buttery light
pouring in through the crack in the door. The muscles in his shoulders flex, his fingers
open and fan once, curl into a fist, then relax. His heart pumps steady and strong in his
chest, and the stuff of miracles crackles in the air about him.
His glorified body passes through the grave clothes, and Jesus grins in anticipation of the
looks on his friends’ faces when he materializes in the room without bothering to use the
door. He swings his feet to the floor, seeing the scars in his flesh and smiling again at the
beauty of it all, if he does say so himself. Freedom for the captives. Hope for the weary.
The bright unraveling of the curse that man brought upon himself. The valley of the
shadow of death now glows with the light of the noonday sun and becomes lush and
verdant and green as jade.
He trails his fingers on the damp stone walls, then steps into the light of the new day.
He is pleased with the story he’s telling. He is satisfied with the price he paid, with the
cup he drank, bitter as it was, and most of all he is satisfied that he can now love his weak
and wayward children with all of himself. The holy part of his nature that could bear no
iniquity from man has been satisfied. There could be goodwill henceforth, from God to
man. At last.
The sun warms his face. He closes his eyes and feels in a flash the hearts of all men and
women from the beginning of things to the end, from Adam to Abraham to you and I in
this room on this night, and with each thump of the holy heart in the frame of his ribcage
he loves enough to overwhelm us all. Love set loose on the world. Love like a roaring
lion, like a thunderclap of deep laughter.
From the moons of Jupiter to the center of our boiling sun, out past numberless stars to
the walls of the universe, that laughter resounds and makes its way back to the ears of the
figure standing at the mouth of the tomb.
“It is finished!” Jesus cried in his agony on the cross. Now he thinks of the Kingdom he is
making, of the world he is redeeming, of the living hope he has unleashed.
He smiles to himself and agrees with the Father.
“It has only just begun.”

Take Up Your Cross

Posted: February 6, 2014 by abestratton in Meditations

Mark 8:34-38 – And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

“What all of his disciples must learn is that to be a follower of Jesus entails a painful renunciation of self-interest and a wholehearted turn to Jesus’ interests. Yet Jesus’ blunt language is not an invitation to spiritual masochism, but to life and bounty. For it is an infallible rule of the kingdom that self-focus issues in death, while ‘whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it’ (8:35). Only for a few will this commitment entail loss of physical life; for all of us it means death to self, discipleship to Jesus. And that includes a glad confession of Jesus, and principled refusal to be ashamed of Jesus and his words in this adulterous and sinful generation (8:38).” -Carson

It takes faith to remember…

Posted: September 27, 2013 by abestratton in Meditations

Personal Meditation
Nahum 1:2-3a
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD is avenging and wrathful;
the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.
The juxtaposition of God’s furious wrath and His slowness to anger, His avenging justice and His gracious mercy accentuate both more fully. We like to rejoice in God’s faithful love and longsuffering mercy to sinners like us, but we must also meditate on the truth that God stores up His wrath against sin and will execute judgment and justice on all evildoers. His wrath is a fearsome outpouring, and only a fool (those who say there is no God) would pursue a path leading to that wrath and destruction.
I was also thinking this morning that it takes just as much faith to remember that God is an angry, avenging God as it does to remember that He is forgiving. In our daily routine it is easy to walk right by people who are damned and headed to destruction and not even give a second thought to the wrath which they are under and will face. It takes faith (seeing the unseen) to remember true realities and to talk to those people and to warn them in love and with sincere care that they need a Rescuer, a Savior, from their sins and from the damning consequences of their sin.