My time with God this morning was like a pebble dropping into a pond sending out ripples that exposed so many things God wanted me to meditate upon.
The pebble seemed to hit the water as I was brushing my teeth and thinking about a couple of guys who had negative interactions with me in the past. As my fleshy morning mind was ready to rehearse how the whole ordeal affected me, it seemed like the Holy Spirit quoted a Scripture to me, “what is that to you? You follow me!”
I knew right away that I was being given divine direction for the morning, partly to prevent me from ruining the first part of my time with God in distractions over sarky memories, and partly to lead me into something I always need help with (seeing my assignment purely without insecurities about what anyone else thinks). Since it was given to me then and there, I took it that I need that focus in the here and now.
As I began my prayer journaling, the context of this expression became my focus, and that is when I saw one ripple after another spread out from the initial thought. It seemed like the aim was to show me so much more of what was happening in that encounter with Jesus and his disciples in order to teach me the way God was ministering it to me for my growth in love, joy and peace.
One reason I’m sharing just this much is because I would love to see all of us experiencing the ripple-effect of spending time with God in his word and prayer, particularly on those mornings when we have more time over the holidays. There is a ripple-effect of delight waiting for each of us if we let the first thing God shows us turn into a deeper meditation on the word. The more thought we give to what God is teaching us, the more those words of Christ will mature our faith.
To combine this with another favorite illustration of mine, it is almost like the spreading ripples lay down concentric circles of puzzle pieces around the central thought so that a picture keeps expanding that takes our breath away with wonder.
It is obvious that Jesus wants my attention on what he is leading me to do as I follow him without hindering his work by concerning myself with what others have done or are presently doing. I suppose this is another expression of his work to lead us to deny ourselves, take up our own cross daily, and follow him no matter what he is doing with anyone else.
Because of this time with God in his word and prayer, I am now watching for ways to join God in his work that I can only do successfully if my eyes are on Jesus leading me and not distracted by what he is doing with anyone else.
I know that, as Jesus leads me, he is still leading his flock around me so that we are sharing together in his work. It’s just that my benefit to the rest of the flock will be increased by my pure-hearted attention to how Jesus is leading me so that what I do in ministry to them comes from Jesus himself, not my fears and insecurities of what they think of me.
I’m very curious what I will see today as my eyes are fixed on Jesus and his leading.
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)
 As usual, Satan has counterfeited true meditation with his mind-numbing mirages that are all about emptying a person’s mind so Satan can do as he pleases with a person’s thoughts. True meditation is filling our minds with thoughts of God and his words, taking every thought captive as Paul described, and directing our hearts, souls and minds to eagerly and earnestly explore God’s truth in faith-attachment to God. The biblical concept is illustrated by a cow chewing its cud. Meditation is like eating the word, letting it digest a bit, chewing it over, letting it digest a bit, chewing it over again, and continuing this pattern (the four-stomachs is not a limit on how often we meditate on any particular aspect of what God is speaking to us about but an illustration of how meditation keeps drawing more and more out of the words we are meditating upon). The more we chew things over, so to speak, the more we get out of the word. And, since faith comes from hearing and hearing from the words of Christ, the more we get out of the word, the stronger and healthier our faith becomes.
 John 21:22 where Jesus was confronting Peter with his concern with what Jesus was going to do in John’s life.