Heart Meditations 9 - Worthy of Praise - David Mitts
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Php 4:8-9 NASB)
Meditation is a conscious choice that brings unconscious results which manifest in the area of our habits. One way to think of this is to use the analogy of a computer program. Computers operate according to the power and efficacy of their programs. Programs are a series of instructions written in a language of 1’s and 0’s, a binary system that instructs the computer on how to perform various functions. Even the most apparently sophisticated computer operations are described and empowered in the programs that create those operations. In this way, computers are driven by law. They have no real independent choice and truly the only difficulties they encounter are due to faulty programming.
Humans, the offspring of a Creator God have a very important element of their existence that is not present in the computers we fashion for ourselves, and that is, choice. We choose how we think and because of that, we can change our programming and become new creations.
One of the fundamental areas of our choosing is regarding our morality. Computers are amoral. They do not base their programming decisions on a sense of what is right or wrong. Probably the greatest evidence for God is the innate human conscience. We feel guilty when we violate what we know to be right. This is a moral consequence, and it demands of us retribution or a consequence for our actions.
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. (1Jn 3:21 NKJV)
This feeling comes from somewhere. The humanists want to believe that like computers it is just a product of our programming. This explains their major focus is on the education system. They have worked for decades to remove God from the education process, treating God as a defective bit of code in the programming of society. They believe that God can just be rewritten out of the minds and hearts of our children and the future will be better off without Him.
People, especially children do have programming. Yet unlike their machine counterparts, they are not a closed system that can be deadened to choices. The communists learned this the hard way in Russia. They learned that when you remove choice and especially the choice of goodness from the equation, the result is a society of criminals who rebel and ultimately the cry for freedom from oppression from the tyranny of social conditioning that is amoral and totally anti-God and therefore anti-goodness.
One of the fundamental choices for the children of a Creator is the choice to think creatively. Creativity is not programmable. Creativity brings forth light out of darkness. Another way of saying that is that creativity brings solutions to problems and dilemmas. Creativity is one of the signs of the light of God in our lives.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2Co 4:6 NKJV)
In the humanist programmer’s worldview, life is a closed circle of resources, and opportunities are defined by those limited resources. They do not think in terms of good or evil. No, they think in terms of utility and function. For them, we are escalating to destruction because we have a limitation of natural resources and an ever-expanding population of consumers of those limited resources. Therefore, the humanists devise strategies to limit population and preach a gospel of planetary crisis in the arenas of climate and overpopulation.
In China they adopted the one-child policy, aborting or executing additional children. Here in the west, we do the same, but we call it planned parenthood. Look at the term, planned or programmed parenthood. Children are considered as commodities like you plan for a car or a house payment. It’s all about fitting children into our lives instead of the blessing and privilege that it is to be entrusted by God with a child.
Part of the raising of a child is the development of their inner compass and the Godly training of their minds and heart.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it." Pro 22:6 (NAS95)
Training is different from programming. Training involves learning from rewards and punishments. Training involves an impartation of Godly wisdom. Training involves the use of praise.
When we meditate on things that are praiseworthy, we are in essence retraining our inner child, our inner compass.
Praiseworthy is made up of two concepts, worth and the recognition of worth.
First, let us determine what true worth is. We have already begun to discuss this when I mentioned the idea that children are a privilege and a sacred trust from God versus a commodity to be included in our possessions in our life. Yeshua said:
""Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me."" Mar 9:37 (NAS95)
By this statement, He has equated children with Him and through Him with the Father. This means that each child is a version of Yeshua, the expressed image of who God is.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Col 1:15 NKJV)
Think about that verse for a moment. What does it take for us to see Yeshua as the visible image of God and how does seeing Him as the Father affect our understanding of who God is? If we leave the religious dogma out of our response, we must consider the literal humanity of Yeshua and what that means about who God truly is.
From Yeshua’s own life as the image of God, we see God as healer, forgiveness, provider, defender, and compassion. This is just a shortlist I invite you to meditate on more.
What I want to emphasize is that when Yeshua tells us that when we receive a child, we receive Him, we are opening our hearts to who people really are.
Why does He use the verb to receive? First to receive someone or something implies that someone or something is presented. The ministry receives offerings that are presented. We receive a gift when it is presented to us. We receive a guest in our home when they arrive.
Receiving implies both the presentation of who or what is received and the opening of our heart, mind, and even body in the case of food to bring what is offered into our space. Receiving is a statement of acceptance and of worth.
In Chinese medicine, receiving is done through the energy of the Lungs, we acknowledge the worthiness of some aspect of life and then receive it in. Let us look at a small section of scripture with great power to teach us about receiving:
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, "Peace be with you." And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So, Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." (Joh 20:19-23 NASB)
First, let’s look at the actions of Yeshua. He manifests amid the gathered disciples who are in lockdown because of their fear. In response to their fear, he tells them shalom, peace. He then identifies His peace with the sending of the Father and with His sending. Sending of the Father is apostelo, where we get the term Apostle from. Yeshua was sent of the Father. Apostles are sent out but the key is their being received.
These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. "And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. "As you enter the house, give it your greeting. "If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. "Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. (Mat 10:5-14 NASB)
Notice the connection between the worth of a house and the receiving of the one sent. Yeshua is telling His disciples that worth is a function of being able to receive or honor the one being sent. One of the keys of meditation on things that are praiseworthy is our ability to receive them! We can only receive people when we can appreciate who they are. We can only appreciate who people are in our lives if we appreciate who we are.
Going back to John 20, Yeshua breathes on the disciples and tells them to receive the Holy Spirit. Then He says something that unlocks worth. Worth is inversely related to condemnation. When we feel condemned or unappreciated, it is difficult for us to receive or celebrate others. The Holy Spirit of God becomes tainted by our unforgiveness. If we harbor resentment of unforgiveness towards others then no matter what they do, we cannot receive them or honor them. We can go through the motions but truly we cannot meditate on what is praiseworthy.
This is what happened in Nazareth. They were offended by their familiarity with Yeshua.
And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. (Mat 13:57-58 NASB)
The offense of the people of Nazareth meant they couldn’t receive the gift of Yeshua. In that way, they were grieving the Holy Spirit of God.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30 NASB)
You see we cannot give praise and honor to whom it is due, we cannot meditate on who or what is worthy of praise if we walk in the self-condemnation of our unbelief. We harbor secret judgments and resentments which affect how we see others in our world, and they cannot be themselves truly around us. All of their actions tend to remind us of the sins we have retained by our judgments.
To truly receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, we have to release others from our secret condemnations and learn to celebrate what God is doing in our lives. This is being a truly cheerful giver.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2Co 9:7 NASB)
You see we cannot give what is profoundly important unless we can learn to forgive and celebrate who others are.
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. "Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."(Luk 6:37-38 NASB)
Freedom comes through love and forgiveness which opens up our ability to meditate on what is praiseworthy!
Activation: Who have you taken for granted in your life? Do you have some hidden judgments? Ask the Lord to help you learn again how to meditate on what is praiseworthy. Remember what Yeshua said:
'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'"(Mat 15:8-9 NASB)