Meditation and Contemplation

Janet Aucoin June 28, 2024

Parents often feel overwhelmed, unsure, and nervous about speaking with their kids about sex, but what principles about “the talk” can we find in scripture?

This week, Janet and Jocelyn explore how Christians can approach conversations about sex with their children. They share personal examples of discussing the beauty of biblical sex, highlighting how their approaches varied based on each child's unique needs. Additionally, they address common obstacles to having these important conversations and offer strategies for overcoming them by emphasizing a biblical perspective of sex within marriage.

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Episode Transcript



Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life - Donald Whitney

Prayer: Experiencing Awe - Tim Keller

Attributes of God - A. W. Pink

Awe - Paul David Tripp

Caught Off Guard - William P. Smith

Inexpressible - Michael Card

Gentle and Lowly - Dane Ortlund

Knowing God - J. I. Packer

Enjoying God - Tim Chester

The Ology - Marty Machowski


Joyful Journey Music Playlists




Read Through the Scripture Challenge 2024


Jocelyn: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Janet: I just want to make it as totally simple as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy.

Janet: Well, hello. Welcome back. This is Janet once again with Jocelyn.

Jocelyn: Hey, friends.

Janet: And we're going to be talking about a part of our lives that I think we don't talk about a whole lot, but should be a really important part of our relationship with God.

Jocelyn: I agree. And I'm excited to talk about this topic today because it's not, I mean, I've heard people talk about the one word, but I don't often hear people talking about the other word.

Janet: So people are going, what are the words?

Jocelyn: Today, we're going to be talking about two important spiritual disciplines, and there are lots of spiritual disciplines.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: There's not like a list you must do these, but, you know, these are things you do to discipline yourself to grow. So Janet, what are some of the ways you discipline yourself to grow in your relationship with God and your devotion to Him?

Janet: Like you said, there's not like everybody has to do it a certain way, but I know I need the word of God in me. So I consistently have a Bible reading plan and I frequently have it with other people. So there's just some level of accountability there. So I want more and more of the word. I have recently really been working on understanding better and deepening my prayer life. I think that's really important that it should be happening regularly and growing. Through the podcast, it's helped me to be doing more scripture memory.

Jocelyn: Me too.

Janet: Which I think is important.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And when I just think about disciplining. It's funny. My first thought was discipline your thoughts, which I do through scripture, memory, Bible study and prayer, but I really need to be disciplining my mind to agree with what those things say.

Jocelyn: Totally. One of the disciplines you mentioned was Bible study and really in order to do any of the other spiritual disciplines, you have to be really committed to knowing and understanding God's word because that's where you find God's thoughts on things. Like to do all the other disciplines, you have to be doing Bible study.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: That's where we're going to find what God says is right and good. That's His definitions of righteousness. That's where we're going to learn to see the world the way He does and to love the things He does and to respond the way He responds. So the scriptures are where we learn how to be the way God wants His humans to be. So is it enough to just be grand students of the Bible?

Janet: Well, if what we mean is good Bible studiers only, I'm thinking, especially given my own flesh, if I studied and studied and knew like a lot more than everybody, including you, Jocelyn, I would just be arrogant and thinking that I'm better than everybody else. And I might be smarter and smarter, but 1 Corinthians 13 says, without love, you're a clanging symbol. And I think, you know, I could learn all the things, but it's not very appealing and it's very proud.

Jocelyn: Yeah, totally. At some point, if you're just swelling your brain with amazing facts about the most amazing person we know, you're just going to feel super special because you know a celebrity, you know, like I'm best friends with friends with someone who's super famous. So it's not just enough to get smarter about God. What we learn about God needs to change the way we think basically about everything. And so the spiritual discipline of meditation is training ourselves to think about what we've learned about in the scriptures and the spiritual discipline of contemplation is a nuance of that.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Contemplation is training ourselves to think about the God that we've found in the scriptures.

Janet: So why don't you start with, cause those are the two words we're going to talk about meditation and contemplation today, and already people have probably many, many different ideas of what that means. Well, help us understand what you mean by meditation.

Jocelyn: So saturating your mind with God's word and reflecting on it gives us fresh and new understandings of the depths of God's glory. More and more. Every time you think about it, you're learning something new. You're seeing something deeper. As you meditate on one specific truth from God's word, you're going to kind of hold it like a spiritual mirror almost giving you a more accurate view of yourself because you can do that in relation to God when you're only looking at yourself compared to yourself. You're like, I'm super fly.

Janet: I'm not all that bad.

Jocelyn: Yeah. This is not bad. Meditation is designed to help us see God's holiness and majesty very clearly. And when we clearly see God's holiness and majesty, it's so much easier to see our own areas of sinfulness because if we're not living that way, then it's wrong. Seeing my own sinfulness will result in humility and an appreciation for the love and forgiveness that God offers me.

Janet: All right. So. We're going to just clarify here. You're saying meditation and my mind goes, um, I'm now sitting on the floor. My hands are lifted up. I'm clearing my mind and I'm humming.

Jocelyn: That's not what I'm talking about. There's a big difference between Christian meditation and transcendental meditation. And so I'm glad we're talking about this. In transcendental meditation, you're attempting to free your mind of all thoughts. Like you just want to have an empty head. Basically it's like peace because I don't have anything bad to think about. In Christian meditation, you're purposely freeing your mind of some of the thoughts in your head in order to exclusively think about the deepness and richness of a certain truth from God's word so that you can really understand it and also think about how it affects you. How do you, how are you going to apply it?

Janet: I love that difference because I do think sometimes it feels like that would just be awesome to just not have anything going on in my head. And that's so dangerous because that means you're open to all kinds of stuff going on. But to understand that's not what meditation is. I love that.

Jocelyn: And one of the dangers of empty headed meditation is that there's no standard of truth to compare anything that enters your mind next to, you know, it's just like everything is relative. All right, Janet, why don't you read Psalm 1:1-3 for us?

Janet: All right. Psalm 1:1-3, how blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in the path of sinners nor sit in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord. And in his law, he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Jocelyn: I mean, who doesn't want the stuff?

Janet: Yeah, I'll take that.

Jocelyn: That passage promises blessed. How blessed. He's full of delight. He is firmly planted.

Janet: Yes. And fruitful.

Jocelyn: Yielding fruit. His leaf doesn't wither. Whatever he does, he prospers.

Janet: I want that.

Jocelyn: All of that is in relation to the meditation, our meditation on scripture. So I recently learned from my doctor that coffee is off limits to me.

Janet: Oh my word. I'm so very, very sad.

Jocelyn: That is a great sadness that I've needed to overcome.

Janet: I feel like we should have a moment of silence in the mourning.

Jocelyn: We should have a moment of silence for all the different kinds of coffee I had to throw out in my house.

Janet: Oh.

Jocelyn: Yeah. So instead, my doctor is prescribing me to drink some different teas and I've always been kind of like, whatever.

Janet: I'm not a fan.

Jocelyn: Whatever about tea. But now like, since it's my only hot drink option, I'm like, okay, I guess I'll check it out. I actually have a favorite tea now, which is, I feel like an old lady. I've also discovered some yucky ones. But I also learned that there's some rules with tea, which, you know, I thought I had the rules of coffee down. Now I have to learn new rules. So a lot of the time you have to start with boiling or almost boiling water and then you have to let it steep for a couple of minutes. And I was like, okay, like, you know, coffee, it's hot. You pour it into a cup and you drink it right with tea. It's like seven minutes later. You get to come back and have your tea. So it's not like literally some of the teas are like steep for seven to eight minutes. Cause that's how you get the good vitamins and minerals to come out of those herbs that are in the tea. You don't want hot water. You want tea that has the essence of the stuff that was in that tea bag.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: So let's relate to my new tea snobbishness to spiritual disciplines. The spiritual discipline of reading the scripture would be like dunking a teabag in boiling water, like one or two times, like dunk, dunk, it's something. Yeah. You're learning something. You're getting truth. Studying scripture with some helps would be like letting that teabag sit in the water longer. But meditating on scripture is like taking the teabag and steeping it in the hot water until every tasty bit of the tea ingredients is extracted into your drink. If you leave the teabag in the boiling water long enough, you're going to start to taste like, you know, the intricate notes of whatever the special stuff inside of a teabag is. So in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney defines biblical meditation as deep thinking on the truths and spiritual realities revealed in scripture for the purposes of understanding, application, and prayer.

Janet: Oh, and I will tell you, you got me at deep thinking. I am learning. I have to slow down. I'm always in a hurry. Even my Bible study, that's great. And I'll even start to have an amazing thought about it. I think that's great. I got to go do something else. So I think I have to slow down. Steeping can't be hurried.

Jocelyn: Exactly. Psalm 104:33 & 34 tells us that when we meditate on God's word, we please Him. And I like passages like that. Cause I like it when the Bible just comes right out and says like, hey, if you want to please God, here's how to do it. Instead of being like, you know, I wonder if this is what God is going for. Meditation allows us to thoroughly think about a passage of scripture and squeeze out every drop of blessing from it. And it's not like we can ever actually squeeze out every drop because we're going to read that same passage again later and be like, oh my word, I've discovered new amazing things.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: But you ponder it. You just give your brain time to mull it over. So it's like something so delicious. You don't want to just swallow it really quickly. It's precious. You turn it over in your minds. You allow your heart and soul to be affected by it. Sometimes you even ask questions about it. Meditating looks like holding onto the truth until it becomes a part of who we are and affects our thinking and our desires and our actions. So it's not just a quick read. It's like you're just letting sit in your mind and you're purposely turning it over.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: We become transformed as we repeatedly think about God's words to us in scripture. And, this is the cool part, as we repeatedly think about God's words, His words become our words.

Janet: I love that.

Jocelyn: It's so transforming. Like God's glory is so glorious that when we're in its presence, He makes us glorious too. It's unbelievable. We become like God in all of His beauty as we spend time truly and deeply thinking about what he thinks about. So yes, knowledge is important, but knowledge that's soaked into us becomes wisdom. It becomes how we live. So we're transformed. Like we have more and more of God's character as we spend time pondering His truth until His truth becomes our truth. And then we're not just like dazzled because know some famous person. We're changed because His truth has become a part of who we are.

Janet: Tim Keller calls that massaging the truth into your heart.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: And I love that picture. It's like I'm working at massaging so that it will penetrate my heart.

Jocelyn: And I think that's one of the things that we need to remember about. meditation is that it is actually work.

Janet: It's work.

Jocelyn: It's work. You're choosing to not think about something and to think about something different. And you're saying like that thing that I read this morning in my devotions, I purposely said in my free moments, I'm going to think about this. I'm going to chew on it. I'm going to turn it over and look at it. And that's not accidental. So it is worth. So let's brainstorm. What are some ways you could purposely choose to think on the truths that you've read in your Bible study time throughout the day? What are some tricks that we could, you know, practice that would help us remember to mull it over?

Janet: There's a lot of things. I think one is rereading. I find that the more I read the same passage, especially if I use different translations. So if I'm reading, like one year I read through the Bible in the New Living Translation, this year I'm doing it in CSB and I've done it in ESV and I do that because it helps me think more if I'm reading it over and over in a variety of translations.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Yeah. You could rewrite the biblical passage on a three by five card and carry it with you. And I know a lot of people that do this to memorize, but the thing that's cool about memorization is that you're meditating on it. You can't memorize something without being thinking about it all day long. So writing it out on a three by five card and carrying it with you, reading it as much as you can throughout the day. Like I've been sometimes give the assignment. I don't like to always say to my counselees, memorize this passage. Cause they can quote it back to me and not really have gotten much from it. So I say like, every time you eat, read this verse 25 times or five times a day, read it 10 times, something like that.

Janet: Excellent. Even setting up like triggers for yourself so that every time that happens, whatever that trigger is, it's like, oh, I'm supposed to pull out my three by five card and meditate on God's truth. Maybe it's every red light.

Jocelyn: Yeah, that's what I was thinking.

Janet: Don't do it while you're driving. At the red light only, please. Maybe when I'm in line somewhere, maybe when I'm, so that I'll know, I'll associate those things. This is happening. It's time to pull out my card.

Jocelyn: You could point out how that passage helps you to see God more clearly. Like telling, making it come out of your mouth to someone else.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Helps it to gel in your own mind. I'm sure there's some neurological thing that happens when that is going on, but talking about it gels the facts inside of your head.

Janet: Ask yourself and ask others questions about the topic. And I think asking others, that can be really helpful. They may say things you didn't, and then you benefit even more.

Jocelyn: You can also rehearse the topic in your mind when you're, like what you said, like sitting at a stoplight or waiting on traffic.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: In between appointments, when you're watching your kids practice soccer, like when you're showering or dressing or just when you're doing the mundane, non thinking activities like mowing the lawn or weeding your garden, you're going to be thinking about something. If you don't purposely think about meditating on a scriptural truth, then you're going to be purposely thinking about something else. So you could use found moments to just think about it.

Janet: Yeah. I think it could be fun if there was a group of people that were all gonna meditate on the same passage, talk to each other about the truths that you're learning, maybe a texting group, maybe whatever, where we're talking about, I read the passage again today and this is what struck me. So you're learning and you're benefiting from everybody else.

Jocelyn: And my Bible reading plan right now, my friend told me about this new plan and wanted me to try it out. So I was like, sure, that's cool. And the last thing that we do every day is just record our thoughts. Like how do we see God impacting your thoughts in this passage? And so we just have to write it out.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And it's interesting to hear what other people are thinking about the exact same passage of scripture. You could memorize the scripture passage about the truth. So like I said previously, memorization is not just for you to be able to recite it back. It's because as you're sticking it into your brain, you're pondering the different words or phrases or arrangement of phrases in that passage.

Janet: You can look up parallel scriptures. We've talked about that in other translations. You can also look up in different commentaries and find out what other people are saying about it to expand, especially context, to expand your understanding.

Jocelyn: I also think it's important to look for ways to apply that truth because how do you know when you know something? You know when you know it, when you do it.

Janet: When you're acting on it.

Jocelyn: Yeah. So how do I know that lying is bad? When I quit lying and start telling the truth. So applying it will really give you practical ways to meditate on it.

Janet: And I think taking the time to praise God for the truth you've been meditating on, thanking Him and praising Him that these things are true about Him.

Jocelyn: And you could also pray that God would help you to see the depths of that truth's beauty or to be quick to obey it or to be changed by it to make your mind consistent with God's mind. So those are just a handful of practical ways that you can meditate. But the point is meditation is a purposeful activity and that what you're choosing to think about is some truth from scripture that you want to let gel in your mind.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: So now let's address the other spiritual discipline we mentioned at the beginning of this episode, contemplation. And it's a big word. I've been thinking all day. I'm probably going to butcher this word 25 times today in our recording. Although it's similar to meditation, contemplation is designed to focus only on God rather than ourselves. And so contemplation takes a specific truth about God that you found in that passage of scripture and you focus on that in order to learn more about God exclusively. So as you focus on a specific truth about God, your appreciation for Him grows and you're more likely to see like all sorts of things, like His glory, His perfection, His majesty, His holiness, His perfect beauty, and His love. I'm still, you know, speaking of contemplation, one of the things that I'm still contemplating is the definition that you gave of 'Glory from Our Envy' podcast episode that glory is the weightiness of His love, of His beauty, of His kindness. I think I've pulled that episode script up so many times to read that definition to someone because it makes your understanding of the glory of God bigger.

Janet: Right, right.

Jocelyn: So contemplation is really similar to just gazing at the beauty of someone or something and just kind of being awestruck by it. In contemplation, you're not really focusing very much on your own interaction with it or like your thoughts about it. All you're doing is just kind of like dumbstruck staring at the fact that this person you're looking at is so unbelievably amazing. That's what contemplation is. A classic example, you can just, this is a poor example, but similar is like when a girl has a crush on a cute guy and she's just awestruck about everything that has to do with him. He has the most handsome face, his dreamy eyelashes, his soft lips, the beautiful curl to his hair, the way he speaks so kindly, his excellent behavior around others, his politeness. A girl that's contemplating her crush doesn't really think a lot about what he does for her.

Janet: He might not even know her.

Jocelyn: Creepy girls. She's just mostly like staring at the beauty of that human being and being like, he is literally amazing. And right now I'm telling you what, Janet. We are in the throes of love in our house. Sometimes she'll become.

Janet: Wedding bells will be soon.

Jocelyn: Shelby comes home from college and she's like, I'm literally surrounded by love on every side. Does this have to be every weekend? So Haley, as we're recording, this is just days away from her wedding to the most wonderful, most handsome, most manly, most Godly, most everything man Haley has ever met. I know because she tells me all of the time. Mom, did you see how cute Matthew looks in his cute sweater? Mom, did you see this delicious treat Matthew bought for me? Oh my word. Mom, did you see this amazing meal Matthew cooked for me? Mom, do you see how kind Matthew is? Mom, oh my word. Matthew is so wonderful. I love her. I love you and all, but I cannot wait to move out of this house and in with Matthew after we're married so I can be around his wonderfulness all day long, every day. That comment has actually been coming out a lot.

Janet: That is funny.

Jocelyn: Whenever someone says, I love you, but you're like, what is this going to be about? I love you, but I can't wait to leave you. I love you, but I can't wait to move out of this house and in with Matthew.

Janet: And you're like, and I love you, but to not have to hear about your love life all day long will be nice.

Jocelyn: What was it like for you, Janet? Were you all lovey dovey?

Janet: Not at all.

Jocelyn: First time you laid eyes on Brent, were you all worshipful?

Janet: You know, you know, no. And what's really funny is, he says, I don't remember when we met.

Jocelyn: Oh, poor Brent.

Janet: Yes, he was telling me, and I kept saying, no, honey, you were not in that small group with me. I had never met you at that point. Well, later when we were engaged, he was going through all of his stuff and he found a prayer booklet from the night that our church had divided up to meet with, to sit with a small group of people you don't know for Koinonia Fellowship and to pray together. And he said, I specifically got in the group where you were.

Jocelyn: Oh, on purpose?

Janet: Apparently.

Jocelyn: Ooh.

Janet: But he was three years younger. So we were in different Sunday schools and like, I didn't know him. And I said, you were not in that group. I remember that night. I remember that group.

Jocelyn: He has proof, Janet.

Janet: He had my prayer requests. And he's like, see? So apparently...

Jocelyn: Was he praying for you to be more obvious or observant?

Janet: And what he now knows is I'm not observant. That is like a true thing in every area of my life. So I didn't remember him, but once I was in a relationship with him, once I had made that decision and gotten to know him, which is an incredibly long story, shows the power of God. We were immature. We were ignorant.

Jocelyn: That's good to know.

Janet: It is God's grace and power.

Jocelyn: It's good to know that you were once not this mature maven of wisdom.

Janet: Yeah, well, I have my issues now, but then it was amazing. I don't know, I was sharing it with someone and they were like, I can't believe you even got married. I know. I can't even explain it.

Jocelyn: Brent has been putting up with a lot.

Janet: Oh, it went both ways. It was pretty bad. But anyway. Once we knew, what I do remember is I always wanted to be with him. I wanted to ride in the car together because I just wanted to be near him. I'm like we're going two miles and now we're going to have an extra car somewhere else, but we should be together. I can remember having a family member drive my car so I could be in the car with him as we go somewhere. Anywhere we go, I just want to be near him. I do remember that.

Jocelyn: Oh, Karis, I'm so sorry to hear all this. What you have to put up with. So when we think about contemplating God, we could, I actually heard this example in a theology book that I read and I've never been able to stop thinking about it. So you can compare God to examining a really perfectly cut diamond. Perfectly cut, excellently brilliant, worth millions of dollars. A truly fine diamond will have, just think like I know my diamond in my engagement ring, a truly fine diamond will have 58 facets on it. So a diamond...

Janet: Mine's probably got 20? I don't even know.

Jocelyn: A diamond smaller than a garden p will have 58 separate little flat faces cut into it. That like blows my mind.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: But each of those facets were painstakingly cut in order to reflect the underlying symmetry of the crystal structure, which that's very sciency. These facets are cut into diamonds in order for them to display the internal reflections of light that are known as brilliance, along with the strong flashes of color known as fire.

Janet: I love that's what it's called brilliance and fire. That's great.

Jocelyn: The facets are what make the diamonds glow and sparkle, but they don't make a diamond perfect. They just show off the perfection that was already there. Cause if you've seen a diamond rough cut, it looks like a piece of gravel, like it looks like a rock.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: But when you cut it.

Janet: It's in there.

Jocelyn: And then you can see it. So if you think of God as a diamond, when we're contemplating Him, it's like picking up the diamond and just turning it around and around and admiring and appreciating every single sparkle that was thrown off as you turned it in the light, like you would admire the clear, beautiful light that shone at the diamond. You would marvel at how like this is so expensive. I can't imagine how they cut all these little facets in it. It's probably worth millions. You would be astounded by its weight. You would just want to touch it to have some of its beauty affecting us. And if God was a diamond, that's how we would contemplate Him. But the amazing thing is God is so much more than a diamond and when we contemplate Him, there's so much more to see than spark and fire and brilliance and I'm gonna read a quote from C.H. Spurgeon, it's a tad long, but it's like drinking something that is so delicious. Just listen to this. He who often thinks of God will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. The most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ and Him crucified and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the deity. And whilst humbling and expanding, the subject is eminently consolatory. Oh, there is in contemplating Christ a balm for every wound and musing on the Father, there's a quietus for every grief and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there's a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea, be lost in His immensity, and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul, so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow. So speak peace to the winds of trial as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

Janet: Wow.

Jocelyn: Isn't that just unbelievably comforting?

Janet: Yes. I think in itself, I feel like it makes me want to drown myself in a God who is like this.

Jocelyn: God is so other than us, so non human. And one of the things that's hardest to understand about Him is the fact that He's not like us, which makes Him in some ways truly impossible to understand completely. His transcendence is above our comprehensibility. There are all sorts of things we can begin to comprehend and there are many things that we can even share and experiencing with God, but He is never truly comprehensible. And to me, that's consoling because I don't want a God in charge of my life that I can comprehend. Like my life is a mess sometimes. I need someone that's above my mess, bigger than my mess. I like the fact that an incomprehensible God is doing unsearchable and untraceable things in the universe. I want a God who is bigger than me.

Janet: Yes. Yep. And then God's complete character is so complex and His being has so many facets and each part of God's complexity is designed to just simply showcase the beauty that's in God. And I think we're never going to run out of facets. There's way more than 58.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But the fact that we get to turn God over in our minds and try to see and understand Him more fully. To use the diamond, the fire, and the sparkle of the beauty of the glory of God will become more evident to us, which is what happened for me when I learned in studying for hesed that His glory was His crucifixion.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Like when He says, now's the hour of my glory. And I think, what does that tell me about the beauty of Christ? That what's most glorious about Him is that kind of love not His power.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: You know, and so you're right. As we slow down and think about that, we'll never be done.

Jocelyn: When we contemplate the beauty and attributes and character of God, we pick Him up in our mind, and we turn Him around and around, and we admire Him. We appreciate every single sparkle that's thrown off as we turn Him in the light. We admire His love or His justice or His faithfulness or His trustworthiness or any of His other attributes or character qualities or actions. We're amazed at how His attributes and character and actions all work together to synergistically demonstrate His perfection like our God is unlike any other that any other God We're confounded at how none of His attributes contradict each other or cancel each other out. Like how can God be both just and merciful?

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: How?

Janet: And He made a way.

Jocelyn: He is. He is.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: We marvel at how exquisite and majestic He is and how much He's worth. We're astounded by His gravity and weightiness and importance. And we want to touch Him and have some of that beauty affect us. We just want it. We want to eat Him up. We want to eat His astonishing brilliance because it's so unbelievable and amazing that we just want it to become part of us. We're awstruck at the bright shining glory that we see luminescing out of Him and effervescent, dazzling splendor. And we fall on our faces before His absolutely inscrutable holiness and grandeur and praiseworthiness. That is what contemplation is. It's an understanding. It's understanding more of His incomparable worth. That's what contemplation produces. So, Janet, what's a passage that you're studying or memorizing right now that has some especially delicious truths about God that you're really enjoying contemplating?

Janet: I've recently been reading. I read in four places in scripture at once, but the passages that I've been thinking about more it's Psalm 103 and then Psalm 104 and I love. Well, I love all of those Psalms, but as I'm reading, I'm finding just even controlling my mind to revel in what I'm reading instead of immediately applying it is a discipline in itself.

Jocelyn: Yeah, that's true.

Janet: But it helps me. So instead, as I read Psalm 103, that He forgives all my iniquity. I want to go, oh God, I'm not that forgiving. And that's true. I need to get there. But what I'm trying to do is go, no, why don't I first just contemplate? Why don't I first say, this is what he's like?

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: He heals all your diseases. God, I'm sorry. I'm not more appreciative. No, stop. That's good. But right now, how about just thinking that He redeems my life from the pit. That He crowns me with hesed and compassion that He satisfies me with good things. And just in that one little passage of Psalm 103, slowing down to just meditate and contemplate what I'm seeing about who He is and what He's like is mind blowing.

Jocelyn: Yeah. I've been really thinking a lot about the word trust in Psalm 37:3, which was one of the passages that we memorized this year.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Were one of the passages that we memorized in 2023, it says, trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. And when I use my online tool, that's called Blue Letter Bible, I learned the definition of that word trust. And so as I've been meditating on the definition of the word trust, it's been making me contemplate the God that it's talking about. And so when I teach this in counseling, I ask my counselees to substitute the definitions of trust into the verse. So it says trust means to be confident in, so trust in the Lord and do good, dwell on the land and cultivate faithfulness, be confident in the Lord and do good, dwell on the land and cultivate faithfulness, be bold in the Lord and do good, be secure in the Lord and do good. So this one just blew my mind. This is the literal definition of trust. Feel safe. Feel safe in the Lord and do good.

Janet: Think of the good you can do when you feel safe.

Jocelyn: Yeah. The last definition is to be, it says to be careless, which has a bad connotation, but it means to be carefree. Be carefree in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness and you can only trust and feel safe with a God who's enormous, transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient. And when you meditate on a specific passage, you find evidence that God is worth trusting. He's a God I can feel safe with. So let's talk about how you could purposely practice contemplating God.

Janet: Yeah. I think studying one particular character quality or attribute of God, if that means looking for that word all throughout scripture to see his faithfulness and maybe see how it's all throughout scripture to just really massage in that part of Him.

Jocelyn: You could also define a character quality or an attribute on a three by five card and carried around with you and read it. It reminds me of our friend Susan Blake. She has this A to Z discipline that she does. She just writes down character qualities of God following the alphabet, and she just reviews it A to Z and just hides God's attributes in her heart, and I think she does it every year. So every year it's different A to Z's.

Janet: Wow.

Jocelyn: Yeah, it's pretty astounding.

Janet: I want to know where different X's. Anyway.

Jocelyn: we'll have to interview her on that. Excellent. Maybe she has little cheaters.

Janet: Yeah. Maybe she has little "Exs".. Well, as we said, for a meditating with contemplating set up triggers so that every time that happens, you pull the three by five card out and meditate on that about God.

Jocelyn: Especially think about how our own failures, like if I'm not grateful, like think about how every time I'm not grateful, it could be a trigger to remember the unfailing love of God. You know, like He's so not us.

Janet: Every time I say the I cannot believe whatever, oh, I get to pull this out again and be reminded, yeah.

Jocelyn: You could point out how some passage or some portion of life helps you to see God more clearly. I'm taking an anatomy class right now and I'm telling you what, I was prepared to study. I was not prepared for the serious worship that happens when I read my textbook. Like I was reading my chapter on muscles and it was like, this is unbelievable. Like what a tendon is. It's unreal.

Janet: You don't think that just happened randomly?

Jocelyn: God organized. It's like a city inside of us. It's just, it's unbelievable.

Janet: You can again, ask yourself, ask others questions about the topic.

Jocelyn: And again, like meditation, you could rehearse the truths in your mind when you're doing, you know, things that just don't take thinking, like when you're watching your kids practice or you're showering or getting ready for the day. You can choose to meditate on specific qualities of God.

Janet: And these are going to be the same because we're talking about a form of meditation which is contemplating. Talk to other people. Maybe at dinner to say, guess what I was thinking about God today and talk to people about what you're contemplating.

Jocelyn: You could memorize scripture passages that define or describe a specific character, attribute or action of God.

Janet: Yep. Look up other scriptures that say that same character or attribute. Look up different commentaries, get as much information just as you did with the word trust. So that now the word trust is more full for you.

Jocelyn: It's precious. Yeah. You could look for ways to mimic or copy that character attribute or action of God. And there are going to be some ways that you're not able to completely copy God's character like His perfection.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: But even in ways that you can't completely master the character quality, you can certainly emulate parts of it or grow in that area as much as you're able. And as you try to practice it, you're going to become even more aware of how amazing it is that God is that way all the time and doesn't ever need to grow in it. He's just, he is it.

Janet: And I would say praising God for all of His attributes, but maybe even focusing on the attributes that you're not supposed to have. That He judges.

Jocelyn: Oh, interesting.

Janet: I'm not supposed to do that. That He's all knowing. I'm not supposed to try to be all knowing.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So to realize, okay, He's sovereign. He's in control. I'm not. So I can not work to mimic those, but I can praise Him for those things I'm not to be.

Jocelyn: And you can feel safe because He is.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And then pray that God would help you see the depths of the beauty of His character, attributes, person, and action. And like you said, Janet, it's going to require slowing down. We sometimes do our Bible reading as if it's the thing to be done so that we can go do the other things that we need to do. But we miss the beauty of the truth of that passage was saying, or some truth about God that could be a balm for our weary souls in the midst of our sojourn on earth. So let's talk a little bit about some of the resources that might be helpful. What do you have in mind, Janet?

Janet: You know, I don't know of a lot of books that are specifically on just practically meditating, but a book that I just finished on prayer by Tim Keller called, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. He goes through a section on the importance of meditating, studying, and then meditating as a preparation for biblical praying. And so I was really helped by that. So it might not be all on that, but it'll actually put it in context and how adoring, praising God for who He is is how we should start to reorient our mind before we pray about anything else. So that would be a book I'd recommend.

Jocelyn: Well one of my shout outs is to our Joyful Journey podcast playlist on Spotify. We have two specific ones. One's called, "Songs About Jesus" and the other one is just called, "Worship Songs" and you can find those links on our website. But they are. I love those playlists. the specifically the songs about Jesus are songs literally just about Jesus and the worship songs are just songs about godly things.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: But I am notoriously terrible at remembering lyrics. So even though I've listened to them 4, 000 times, I can't tell you what the lyrics say. But as I'm listening to them, I'm having something to think about purposely about God or about his ways. There are a couple of books that are really good for thinking contemplative thoughts about God, like thinking about his attributes. A. W. Pink has a book called Attributes of God.

Janet: Yes, that's a good book

Jocelyn: and then there's a book by Paul David Tripp called Awe and another one by William P. Smith called Caught Off Guard that are kind of two books about the same topic. Like the more you know about God, the more you should be caught off guard with his majesty. And then we've talked about this book before, Inexpressible, by Michael Card, talks about one facet of God that you could think about for the rest of your existence. I really love the book Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund for understanding specific truths about Christ and how he relates to his people. So that's great for contemplation, knowing God and enjoying God or two other books. I also have found over time that just learning how to read a biblical doctrine book or a theology book will help you because the more you learn about theology proper, the more you have thoughts that are biblical about God. not what you think God is like, but what God says he's like in an organized way. And then my favorite kids theology book is called the ology. I love that book and it teaches at a kid's level, big thoughts about God to think about and contemplate about.

Janet: And most of us learn at a kid's level.

Jocelyn: Yeah. I get it. And it's pretty.

Janet: Well, thank you. This has been great. And I do pray that it will be helpful for all of us that will be more mindful as we read to maybe read less chunks at a time, but be able to meditate on them and get to know God better.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage From there you can also subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or Instagram at Joyful Journey Podcast. If you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.