Jani: Hello, everyone, welcome to He Restores My Soul. I’m so glad you’re with us again in our discipleship series. You may be meeting as a group with one of your members leading you or you may be listening to this as an individual. If you are doing it as an individual, it’s not too late to ask someone to join you. Maybe you have a friend who’d be willing to meet with you once a week and go through these assignments together and listen to the podcast together, interact together. I think you would find it more fulfilling that way. But perhaps you can’t do that right now at this stage in your life. So welcome even if you’re just listening one on one. I do hope that you’re finding help in how discipleship can be presented to other women. Hopefully, you’ll see that it’s not complicated. It doesn’t have to be difficult.
Jani: For today’s lesson, leader, I ask that you would gather three blank note cards, index cards for each group member. That will be part of their assignment, as the podcast closes. So just feel free to turn off the podcast and gather three blank note cards for each group member.
starting with worship
Jani: We’re going to start our time together with worship by focusing our eyes and hearts on Jesus. In my discipleship group, we’re learning a little song called “Jesus Christ is Made To Me.” It’s a song from 1 Corinthians 1:30. Now maybe you’re learning a different hymn or praise chorus, whatever it is, stop and sing it together, start your meeting with song.
Jani: Now in my discipleship group, we’re going through the words in 1 Corinthians 1:30 and talking about them during our worship time, we’re going deeper into adoring Jesus, who he is, what he has done for us, we go into thanksgiving and praise of our mighty Lord. The word we’re looking at today is righteousness. Jesus Christ is made to us righteousness.
Jani: Now, what does this mean? Well, righteousness is a legal standing. It’s being made right before God above. It can also mean right action and fair dealing. When we sin, we create a debt between ourselves and other men and women, or ourselves and God. Whenever we sin, we create debt. Left alone, my righteousness will always be insufficient for God’s standard. As a group, or if you’re listening individually, I want you to look up these Bible verses and read them. I’ll list them, then you turn off the podcast and take some time reading them out loud. Romans 3:10-12. Note how it says “none are righteous”. Psalm 9:8, Psalm 89:14, Philippians 3:8-9, and Romans 5:17-20. Go ahead and read those verses.
Jani: Our righteousness is achieved through a judicial exchange between the sinner, that’s us, and the Savior, Jesus Christ. You see, the sinner receives Christ’s righteousness, and Jesus receives our punishment. Oh, what a costly exchange. What a precious gift we receive. Let’s worship the Lord. Let’s read 2 Corinthians 5:21 and then 1 Corinthians 1:30. That’s 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Corinthians 1:30, then turn off the podcast, ask someone to pray and thank Jesus for becoming our righteousness, and sing your song again.
Share and Pray with each other
Jani: During this lesson, I want to make sure that you set aside enough time to share your hearts and joys and burdens with each other. You might be spending so much time listening to my voice that you don’t get to hear each other’s. So during this time of discipleship, I want you to share first, and then as time allows, work through the teaching part of this podcast. Begin with accountability, share how everyone’s quiet times are going. Was everyone able to complete four quiet times? I would ask the leader to pick two names for others to share something that stood out during their time with the Lord this week. I tend to have everybody’s name on a little slip of paper in a basket that I have with me each night we meet and I’ll just pick two names randomly out of that basket. However you want to, choose two women in your group to share something from their quiet times.
Jani: Next, take time to allow the women to share their prayer requests with one another. Don’t rush through this, take some time to go deep with each other in what your needs are.
Teaching Time: The Spiritual Discipline of Meditation
Jani: Now as we come back together, let’s go into our teaching time. I want to talk today with you about a spiritual discipline that has become very precious to me. Have you ever heard of meditation? I wonder if you’ve ever tried to meditate. I believe that meditation is a vital part of our spiritual growth. And I want to encourage each one of you to go deeper with God through this rewarding discipline. It will produce beautiful, lasting fruit in your life. Now, meditation is not prayer. And it’s not a Bible study. But it can be a link between what you read what you pray over and your hour by hour thoughts and feelings and actions.
Jani: Don’t worry, meditation is not hard. This is not a burden I’m going to lay on you. As Pastor Rick Warren has said,
“If you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate.”Rick Warren
Jani: I love that maybe because I do know how to worry so well. So if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate already. We all have thoughts that camp in our brains and our hearts. We chew on them, we play with them, we toss them about, what are we doing? We’re meditating on them.
What Does The Bible teach Us About Meditation?
There Are Sweet Benefits
Jani: What does the Bible teach us about meditation? Well, the first thing it teaches us is that consistent meditation on God’s sacred word can result in sweet benefits. Listen to these words from Joshua 1:8,
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night. So that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”Joshua 1:8
Jani: Psalm 1 talks about the person who meditates being blessed. Meditation will bring you blessings. That means the person who meditates on God’s love will be happy. This is not indicating a superficial lightheartedness. But a deep, strong and enduring sense of well-being a true happiness a true peace. There will be fruit and growth for the woman who meditates, Psalm 1 teaches us. She will become a person of substance and stability. Oh, consistent meditation on God’s sacred word will result in sweet benefits, believe me.
There is an Acceptable Method
Jani: A second thing that the Bible teaches us about meditation is that there’s an acceptable way to meditate, one that pleases our king, one that is motivated by a love for God’s word. Psalm 19:14 puts it this way,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart To be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”Psalm 19:14
Jani: Or Psalm 104:34,
“May my meditation be pleasing to Him for I rejoice in the Lord.”Psalm 104:34
“Oh how I love your law, it is my meditation all the day.”Psalm 119:97
Jani: There is an acceptable way to meditate, one that pleases our king and is motivated by a love for God’s word.
It is Valuable For Passing On Our Joy
Jani: And then a third thing that the Bible teaches us about meditation is that meditation is an important tool to help us pass on our joy in the Lord to the coming generations. Psalm 145:4-5 say this way,
“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”Psalm 145:4-5
Jani: What will you have to commend to the coming generations? Hopefully, a lot, because you’ve meditated on God’s word.
What does meditation look like?
Jani: Well, what does meditation look like? I’ve been talking to you about what the Bible teaches about it now what does it look like in our individual lives? Pastor David Roper of Idaho Mountain Ministries, says this,
“Meditation is withdrawing your roots from the world of men and things and letting them travel to the river of God, taking pleasure in his counsel and drawing it into your soul. To meditate is to mutter, or speak softly, with the implication of speaking quietly to one soul. It’s what an earlier generation of Christians called spiritual reading. Now, spiritual reading is not Bible study, as we normally know it as observation, interpretation and application. But a process that leads us to prayer. It means reading the scriptures slowly, thoughtfully and prayerfully and speaking it to ourselves until our hearts are touched. We must commune with our hearts and be still. We must give the word time to enter in saturate our souls.”Pastor David Roper of Idaho Mountain Ministries
Jani: Then David quotes, Psalm 119:15.
“I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.”Psalm 119:15
Jani: Thank you, David, for that picture of what meditation looks like. In Psalm 1, we have a picture of what meditation is. The picture is of a tree, drawing from its roots on streams of water, feeding on that fresh and life-giving water. What does it mean to be a tree? Well, a tree draws water in and uses it to produce fruit. That’s what meditation is. Meditation is making a truth of reality. It is drawing it into our souls. It’s not a quick sip of water through a straw, but a life-giving long drink, drawn up through roots, into stems, and then out into bearing leaves and fruit.
Jani: When you meditate, your listener, ask yourself, “if this is true, this thought that I’m meditating on this word of God, how will it change me, both my inner man and my outer actions?”
Jani: Meditation is speaking to your soul. Let these words affect you mentally and emotionally. Make it real. Bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8 says this,
“He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when he comes for its leaves remain green and it is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:8
When should I meditate?
Jani: You might be wondering, when should you meditate? Psalm 1, we keep coming back to Psalm 1, if you have questions, read Psalm 1. It will help you. Psalm 1:2 instructs us to meditate day and night. In other words in a disciplined, regular way. When you wake up and when you go to bed. The ESV Study Bible comments on this verse in Psalm 1, “facing every situation, be it ever so mundane with a view to pleasing the Lord by knowing and following his word.”
Jani: This takes time. How fast do roots grow down into streams of water? I love how Charles Spurgeon put it, he says this,
“You will not be able to extemporize Good thinking, unless you have been in the habit of thinking and feeding your mind with abundant and nourishing food. Store your minds very richly. And then, like merchants with crowded warehouses, you will have goods ready for your customers. And having arranged your good things upon the shelves of your mind, you will be able to hand them down at any time without the laborious process of going to market, sorting, folding, and preparing. [He ends this quote, like this.] Take it as a rule without exception, that to be able to overflow spontaneously, you must be full.Charles Spurgeon
Jani: Oh, dear sister. Let’s be full of the Word of God. Let’s begin today. ask God for one verse, or even a phrase from a verse. Write it on a few index cards. Put them where you will see your verse in the morning and at bedtime and other times during the day. You can put one on your bathroom mirror or your car dashboard, your Bible, your nightstand or another in your cupboard. Mutter this verse to yourself, cooing to yourself like a pigeon cooing, roar it to yourself like a lion roaring, chew on it, press into this verse, absorb it, draw it deep into your heart.
Jani: I’m having to do that these days. The verse that I’m meditating on, is from Psalm 138:3, it says this,
“On the day that I called, you answered me, my strength of soul you increased.”Psalm 138:3
Jani: Oh, I love that. I have it on my mirror in the bathroom. I have it near my tea pot downstairs where I make my morning tea. I have it in my Bible, and I have it near my computer. And I think about it when my strength of soul is decreasing, I cry out to the Lord and I claim this verse, My strength of soul you increased. So I encourage you, find a verse or a phrase from a verse and meditate on. Maurice Roberts says this in The Thought of God,
“We are all too impatient to meditate on the faith we profess. It is not the busy skimming over of religious duties which makes for a strong Christian faith. Rather, it is the unhurried meditation on gospel truths and exposing of our minds to these truths that yields the fruits of sanctified character.”Maurice Roberts in “The Thought of God”
Jani: That’s what we want, isn’t it? The fruits of sanctified character. Oh, please learn to meditate.
Accountability and next week’s assignment
Jani: Now in your discipleship group, I want you to close with accountability, and possibly sharing if you have time from the book you’re reading. You’ve already talked about your assignment, your Bible reading and your prayer. Now, I want you to take this as your assignment for this coming week. Find a verse to meditate on day and night. Write it on three index cards and place each card in a spot of your home or work where you’ll see it once in the morning, once mid-day, and once in the evening. As I told you, my spots include on my bathroom mirror, near my tea pot, in my Bible, on my nightstand, near my computer, pick three places that work for you. And begin to meditate on the verse this week.
Jani: This week I also want you to have five quiet times. Write the dates and passages that you’re reading on a sheet of paper and bring it with you to your next meeting. And then leader, make sure you choose what section you will read in your book for you next week, and to close, discuss what you’ve read this past week in the book that you’re sharing together. In my group, we’re reading the Practice of the Presence of God. Then close your meeting in prayer. And may the Lord restore your soul as you seek to meditate on his sacred word. God bless you.