What's On Your Mind?
1.06.08Previous Main Article Page Next
Have you listened to your kids lately? They chatter about friends at church or in the neighborhood or at school. They chatter about activities with friends and at school: football, tennis, French club, piano practice, video games, birthday parties, and television programs. During the summer months Bible camp and vacations are likely topics. And listen to their chatter just before a holiday or birthday, or the latest music CD or movie DVD.
Have you listened to yourself lately? Adults are not that much different: Cold weather, shoveling snow, and holidays in the winter; summer lawn care, the latest heat wave, and vacation in the summer. Remember the cold snap that froze the blooms; sports, of course; the job, and church; car repairs, house repairs, recipes, home decor; politics, health matters, the latest cinema blockbuster; new restaurants; "those kids," grandchildren, in-laws, and outlaws (in the news); you get the idea.
We talk and talk and talk about seasonal events and the most recent activities in our lives. It is neither good nor bad; it is how we are. From this comes the simple observation that our focus is influenced by "current" events in our individual lives. The things we observe with our eyes, listen to with our ears, even things we touch, taste, and smell; our activities fill up our minds and our conversation.
Don't misunderstand - lawn care is not a moral dilemma. The point is simply that if lawn care consumes a great deal of time, it will generally also consume a great deal of thought and often come up in conversation. We think about and talk about those things that fill our time and require our energy.
Parents try to regulate the various influences on their children. What about yourself? Have you ever thought about making a conscious choice as to the kinds of things that would fill your time and require your energy, and therefore fill your thoughts? In other words, do you make conscious choices about the things that influence your thoughts?
I think most of us (including myself) are just trying to make it through the day making ends meet, fulfilling our responsibilities at work and home, getting along with coworkers, family, and neighbors. We are trying to keep from exploding or imploding from life's pressures. Most often, I think, we simply take life as it comes and try to do our best. That might explain why we have so many ups and downs . . . that is just how life is. We call these things circumstances. And our current circumstances can have a strong affect on our thinking and our actions.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to maintain a constant good influence? You and I know that life does not guarantee good circumstances every day. That is a childish fantasy. Circumstances can sometimes be regulated, but we all know that most things in life are beyond our control. So . . . how do I maintain good influences in my life in spite of life's circumstances?
The first step is to intentionally place into your mind things that are good. You do not have to read the Bible in a year or feel burdened if you cannot read an entire book of the Bible in one day. But you really do need spiritual nourishment. You need to open your mind and your heart to God's influence through his word . . . and on a regular basis.
I want to encourage each one to read their Bible more. However, it is not enough to simply read a few verses. We really need to think about the verses. For some of us the word meditation sounds like something from a foreign religion. Yet we read that King David meditated on God's word.
"O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day." (Psalm 119:97)
He stopped and pondered the meanings of the words. He considered how it applied to himself personally and to his position as King of Israel. He enjoyed the revealed truth of God's word, its sound advice, and its wise instruction. It brought him peace, and joy, and assurance. Because of it, he was filled with awe toward God and he was moved in his heart to praise and honor his creator.
I would like to invite each of you to consider with me a verse or short passage of scripture each week. I would also invite you to share your thoughts. It is a simple invitation for each of us to willingly and intentionally draw our attention to God's word every day. It may even give us something else to talk about.
"I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation." (Psalm 119:99)
The Weekly Meditation
The Lord's Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
© copyright 2008 Ellisville church of Christ