I. Introduction To The Brain:
The human brain is about the size of your two fists put together. The modern computers are designed based upon the idea of the brain, but the created product is far less than the creation of the brain itself. From a scientific point of view, the brain has two halves. According to what I have studied about the brain, each half is to mirror the other if everything is working properly. The left half sees the details which make up the big picture (2 + 2 + 1 = 5) and the right half sees the big picture made up of the details (5 = 1 + 2 +2). Synergy of the brain, in general, may be defined as the two halves working together to produce a result not obtainable by either the left or the right hemisphere alone. See the illustrations below.
A. My Office: If you looked at a picture of my office, the left side of the you brain would see the furniture, my computer, various props, photos, and stacks of paper. The right side of your brain would just basically see the room, my office. The two sides should work in synergy.
B. New York: If you looked at a photo of New York, what would you see? You should see a number of gigantic skyscrapers which make up a city or a city which is make up of a number of gigantic skyscrapers. Normally, your mind will osculate back and forth between the two thoughts.
C. A Interlocking Picture Puzzle: If you looked a picture puzzle of a flower you might first see the flower, then the stalk and then the leaves, then you might see the individual interlocking pieces that make up the puzzle. If you only saw the flower and didn't see the pieces of the puzzle, you have a problem. If you just saw the pieces of the puzzle and didn't see the picture of the flower then you would have a problem.
II. The Problem In Problem Solving:
Quite often one person only sees the big picture while another person only sees the individual parts which make up the whole. The person who only sees the problem but never sees the steps to resolve the problem, has a MAJOR problem. However, the person who gets buried in the details may never have a goal or purpose for his life. What is the solution?
Many people see the mess which they got themselves into, but never see their wrong choices which led them to where they are. Other people see all that they are doing wrong, but never see the future consequences for their actions. There is a lack of connection between the two parts? What is the solution?
We may read a chapter or so in the Bible and only see the factual details; therefore it become boring and meaningless. At other times, we may read a passage and only see the big picture and may entirely miss the details. In each case, we may miss the revelation that the Holy Spirit has for us. What is the solution?
You have heard that someone can't see the forest for the trees, but sometime one can't see the trees for the forest. A true photographer often looks and sees what no one else sees. I enjoy landscape photography and like looking for God in His creation. My wife and I like to travel and take photos. One of our first questions is, "Where should we go?" Another questions is, "What photos will we have an opportunity to take if we go to that place?" Of course we usually pray and ask God to direct us as to where to go. The destination, in one sense, is the big picture of the adventure. If I just take an inexpensive cell phone and take a few pictures along the way and there, I may have something of a record of the trip. If however, I take my DSLR and look for the photos then I have a much better record of our trip and some rather inspiring photos which illustrate the work of God in His creation. If I had an expensive news video camera, I should be able to get some live action pictures as well.
III. Understanding Constructs:
In psychology, there is a theory of learning call "learning through constructs". This theory in is line with Scripture which says, "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10). Normally we learn through association or construction. Red is a color. Red means stop. Red means hot. What we believe to be the truth is always based upon something. If what we believe to be truth is based upon a lie, then our conclusions are also lies. If I perceive that a red light means "go" and I am driving in New York, I am in major trouble. If I believe it is O.K. to wonder across the border of Texas into Old Mexico without a passport, I am danger of long term imprisonment or death. Therefore, what we base what we believe to be truth upon is significant. I recently spoke with a young man who couldn't see how the Scriptures applied in his life. He had what he thought was truth, but was a lie. The Scripture says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee" (Proverbs 23:7). Furthermore, he will sadly suffer the consequences for believing the lie to be the truth. Although his reality was true to him, it is still a lie. What is the solution?
Mediation is the major answer. I am not speaking of emptying your mind and humming. I am speaking about meditation on the Scriptures. What we meditate upon is extremely important. David wrote,"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple" (Psalms 19:7). He also said, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Psalms 119:130). Paul wrote, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8). The Scriptures become a living organism when the Holy Spirit brings revelation to them. Meditation comes out of prayerfully reading and studying the passage over and over and turning it over and over in your mind to gain all that you can from it by allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal what He would have you to receive. I may read a certain passage 20 or more times and each time I may see something different.
A. Sheep: Meditation is like the sheep chewing a cud. We are said to be like sheep in Scripture. "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalms 23:1). "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). The sheep is also like the cow which has a stomach with four different compartments. After chewing the grass slightly, it swallows the food and it goes into one of the compartments. Later it will belch the food up and chew it over and over to get all the nutrients out of it. We are to read and put the Word in our minds, then later turn it over and over getting all the revelation out of it.
B. A Diamond: Meditation is like a jeweler taking a large diamond and holding up to the light to look closely at each of the facets. He may also put the diamond under a microscope to enlarge it so that he can better see the beauty of it.
V. Some Guidelines Concerning Meditation.
A. Laying Of Rows: Meditation is like laying off rows on a plowed field. When I lived on a farm, one job that I had was to lay off rows on a plowed field. I would align the vertical exhaust pipe on the front of my tractor to a tree on the opposite side of the field. As long as I kept my eyes on the tree aligned with the exhaust, I did well. However, if while driving, I turned around and looked behind to see what I was doing, I would have a crook in my rows. Some people are always looking at their past and get off track.
B. Fence: Meditation is like building a straight fence. Another thing which I did while living on the farm was to build fence. It was important that started with one post, then go to the other side of the property and set up a second post if was to keep the posts in line. I had to keep everything in line with the first two post. I couldn't just start with one post and put another up ten feet away and keep repeating that. The fence posts for life are Genesis and Revelation and we are to align our lives up between the two posts.
VI. Some Scriptures On Meditation:
A. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3).
B. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Joshua 1:8).
C. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away" (Psalms 1:1-4).
D. "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).
E. "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all" (I Timothy 4:15).
VII. An Illustrative Application:
Walking Through The Storm
"And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." (Matthew 14:22-33).
I have read the story many times, but God dropped some new insights into my mind as I was meditating on it. The story starts with Jesus demanding that the disciples get in there boat and go to the other side of the sea. Therefore they get into in a rather small fishing boat on the treacherous sea of Galilee. The sea of Galilee is rather large of about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide. The sea is nestled in the valley surrounded by mountains. When the cool air comes down from the mountains and hits the warmer air rising from from the sea, violent storm suddenly erupt. The story takes place at the fourth watch of the night that is between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., the darkest part of the night. Most assuredly, the disciple would have been exhausted. Further- more, the disciples are in their fishing boat which is only about 30 feet or less long. A sudden storm has arisen with high wind and waves are tossing the boat about. There is no light except the faint lanterns on the small ship and the flashes of lightening.
Suddenly, the figure of an individual appears walking on the waves. The disciples couldn't believe their eyes and thought that it was a spirit and cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them, "Be comforted, it is I." Peter, the impulsive one, said, "If it is you, Lord, ask me to come to you." Jesus said one word, "Come." Peter bravely stepped out of the boat and began to walk toward Jesus in the midst of the storm. However, Peter then turned and looked at the strong wind and became afraid and began to sink. In desperation, Peter cried out to Jesus for help and Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter to keep him from drowning. Jesus questioned Peter by saying, "O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat the wind ceased. Everyone then worshiped Jesus saying, "It is of truth, you are the Son of God."
C. Here are some insights:
1. The disciples were not doing anything wrong when the storm came. In fact, Jesus has told them to cross the sea. Storms will come suddenly into our lives surprising us, even when we are just going about our business.
2. The disciples had been in the boat most of the night and were likely quite tired. The storms often come into our lives when we are tired and exhausted.
3. Jesus did not stop the storm, but went to the disciples in the midst of the storm. Again, Jesus doesn't immediately stop all the storms in our lives, but rather will make himself known to us in the midst of the storm if we will look for him.
4. The purpose of Jesus allowing the storm was not to destroy the disciples but to test their faith. The purpose of the storms are not to destroy us, but to test our faith. After our faith is tested and we overcome, we are strengthen in our faith.
5. Jesus told the disciples not to be afraid, but that he was there. When we are afraid, Jesus will speak to us and will calm all our fears.
6. Although, Peter was questioned about his faith, he was the only one who got out of the boat and experienced the miracle of walking on the water. You can't walk on water by staying in the boat.
7. Peter was able to walk on water at the word from Jesus. Faith in the spoken Word from God enables us to do what would otherwise be impossible. We should listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit before jumping into the water.
8. It was only when Peter began to focus his attention on the storm that he again became afraid, lost his faith, and began to sink in the sea. When we focus our attention on the storms of life, they become magnified in our minds. It is then that we become afraid and lose our faith and began to sink.
9. When Peter began to sink, he did the right thing. He cried out to Jesus for help. Even in our loss of faith, we can still cry out to Jesus for help.
10. Jesus didn't leave Peter or just let Peter drown, but reached out and caught him to keep him from drowning. Jesus is always there to save us when we cry out for help.
11. Jesus escorted Peter back to the safety of the boat in the midst of the storm. Again, God does not always immediately stop the storm, but walks with us through the midst of the storm. It was only after Jesus and Peter got back into the boat that the storm ceased.
12. Through observing the miracle of God, the disciples' faith was strengthened and they spontaneously worshiped Jesus. Often, it only after Jesus has come to us in the midst of the storm that our faith is strengthened and we freely worship God.