Refresh & Restore — November 18, 2021

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:1-3

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.[1]

Philippians 4:8-9

Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 4 Refresh & Restore | A JustKeithHarris.com Podcast

Christmas is a time when we are able to remember hope, peace, joy,  and salvation — to focus on the One who is the brings those things to  us. We want to give you the opportunity to look at the whole Story of  Jesus – not just the divine swaddled baby in the manger, but the young  boy who taught the teachers in the temple, the man who served rather  than being served, and the Savior who died and rose again “in accordance  with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ESV). There are twenty-four  chapters in Luke’s gospel, and, between December 1 and Christmas Eve, we  have time to look at the full account of Jesus’ life – and thereby hope  for ours as well. This reading guide is an opportunity to spend time reading God’s Word, singing His praises, and meditating on the Gift – Jesus Christ. You can access the reading guide here, free of charge: https://justkeithharris.com/2021/11/24/christmas-to-calvary-reading-guide/
  1. Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 4
  2. Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 3
  3. Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 2
  4. Christmas to Calvary (Advent Readings through Luke's Gospel) — December 1
  5. Reclaiming Meditation — Episode 3 (Thanksgiving)

Greetings, Sojourner!

I hope that our first look at the idea of Biblical meditation has been helpful. This week, I want to take it a bit deeper by looking at it in a historical sense to help us see that this is not a new idea but an idea that has been hijacked by the world and falsely-religious customs.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church describes meditation as “associated with prayer, because some of the favourite biblical texts are themselves prayers, and thinking about Christian truth sharpens a desire for God’s gifts, and thinking about life reveals man’s need of God”.[2] I think this is a particularly good description first because it helps us know what to do with what we are meditating on (pray), and, second, because it helps us gauge the appropriate end result (namely, a right view of God and a desire to worship/follow Him).

In that same article, there are four lenses through which meditation has been viewed throughout church history: 1) the memorization of Scripture to be used or recited, 2) holding onto verses/passages for reminders of truth and inspiration when needed, 3) thinking on the things of God to increase understanding and devotion to God, and 4) applying the truths found in Scripture to our various responses in our lives. I definitely think this is the scope of why various Sunday school teachers, pastors, and disciple-makers encourage the memorization of Scripture.

Those ideas fit so well with Psalm 119, the magnificent center chapter of the Bible that centers around the magnificence of the Bible. Psalm 119:9 asks and answers how a young man can “keep his way pure” by showing that it is in guarding that way – his life – “according to [God’s] Word”. Psalm 119:11 speaks of storing up God’s Word in one’s heart to keep from sinning against Him, which sounds a lot like meditation and memorization. Psalm 119:15 shows an effort to “meditate” on God’s precepts and “fix…eyes” on His ways. There are many more verses, just in that single chapter of the Bible that emphasize the same truth over and over, that we need God’s Word at the forefront of our minds if it will ever impact our lives (vv. 27, 30, 37, 43, 48, 52, 54, 59, 74, 78, 92-93, 97, 99, 105, 114, 116, 123, 133, 140, 143, 153, 164, 166, 174-176).

And that is our goal: to elevate God’s Word to its proper place by spending time in it and thereby elevate Him to where He should be if He is our Lord and Savior to stir our hearts up in worship and obedience to His Word as we forget this world and our desire to sin.

It is my prayer that, through our verses today, you will be able to “set your minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2), that you will be able to think and meditate on things that are “true”, “honorable”, “just”, “pure”, “lovely”, “commendable”, excellent, and “worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8) – His name is Jesus! Our verses for meditation today are on the hope that comes from “the blessed hope…our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:13-14[3]).


Matthew 11:25-30 –

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Isaiah 53:4-6 –

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

John 3:16-21 –

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Philippians 2:5-11 –

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Ephesians 2:1-7 –

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Titus 3:4-7 –

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Colossians 2:13-15 –

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Ephesians 2:8-10 –

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Romans 5:1-5 –

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

John 16:33 –

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”[4]

Hallelujah, and amen!


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Col 3:1–4 & Php 4:8–9.

[2] F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford;  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1072.

[3] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), Tt 2:13–14.

[4] ESV, Matt 11:25-30, Is 53:4–6, Jn 3:16–21, Eph 2:1–7, Phil 2:5-11, Tt 3:4–7, Col 2:13–15, Eph 2:8–10, Ro 5:1–5, Jn 16:33.

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