Category: Meditations

Meditations – August 16, 2017

By Christopher Simon
Ancient Boundary Stones
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”   ~ Isaiah 40:8 NIV
There is a prohibition in the Book of Proverbs which tells us “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors.” (Proverbs 22:28 NIV) This may sound curious to modern ears, but it is just a straightforward warning against theft or encroachment on someone else’s land. A few verses later the warning is repeated, with a bit more specificity: “Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you.” (Proverbs 23:10-11 NIV) 
The ancient Israelites believed that the land belonged to God and was in a sense loaned to God’s people for their use. Thus, they allowed the poor and sojourners to glean the fields (cf. Leviticus 19:9-10), and the original distribution of the land for each tribe and family was expected to be honored (cf. Leviticus 25).
These rules and maxims are, in effect, a codification of God’s justice and fairness. The “ancient boundary stone” can also be taken metaphorically to apply to the ancient wisdom of the Bible. We do well to keep these ancient stones in place. Rules that have worked well for thousands of years should not be overturned lightly.

Meditations – August 9, 2017

By Christopher Simon
We Know the Good We Ought to Do
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”  ~ James 4:17 NIV
Most of the time when we sin we are fully aware that we are doing so. We know what we ought to do but our selfish sinful nature leads us astray.We rationalize our sins by telling ourselves that no one is being hurt, or that no one will know, or that everyone acts this way. 
Driving over the speed limit is a good example of this.When we drive over the speed limit, we are usually aware of the fact and rationalize our bad driving behavior by telling ourselves we really aren’t hurting anyone (even though we know the speed limit is set for reasons of public safety). Or we might tell ourselves that no one is going to catch us doing this, and everyone else seems to be going over the speed limit too. 
One who rationalizes these small or “venial” sins will probably find it easy to rationalize larger and more serious sins as well.
We know the good we ought to do,we just don’t want to do it. We should all make a more serious effort to do the right thing, all the time, and without rationalizing our lapses into sin.

Meditations – August 2, 2017

By Christopher Simon
Getting Our Lives in Order
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  ~ Psalm 32:8 NIV
If you are unhappy with your life, or with certain aspects of it, and everyone has some area of their life that needs work, perhaps it is because you have tried to manage it by yourself. It might relieve you to know that God has a better plan for your life than you do, and it takes a lot of the pressure off ourselves when we decide to live by God’s plan.
We aren’t responsible for our being here, since none of us created ourselves, and so it shouldn’t surprise us to realize that our Creator already has a plan for us. We should of course take some responsibility for our own well-being, striving to be as happy, healthy and virtuous as possible, but putting the responsibility for our entire life and life plan on ourselves is too heavy a burden. 
It is folly to try to be the engineer and director of our own lives. Many of us have lived poorly by following our own path and need some help from God to get it together. Consider God’s word as a user’s manual for how to get your life together. If you’re not sure what God has planned for you, a good place to start in the Bible is the Book of Proverbs. It is filled with Godly wisdom for living a good life.

Meditations – July 26, 2017

By Christopher Simon
Being Within the Law Versus Being Under the Law
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”          ~ Psalm 1:1-2
When you obey the law, and in this case we are talking about God’s law, as an expression of your will to do good, and your desire to obey the law because it is an expression of God’s goodness you are within the law and the law is an expression of your freedom.
But when you are under the law you feel forced to do the right thing, or atone for doing wrong, and are not as free as the person who obeys the law because he loves God and sees the law as an expression of God’s goodness.
Following our instincts is frequently at odds with God’s law, and while one is free to act according to one’s animal nature or according to God’s law, true freedom consists in submitting one’s will to God’s law. The person who submits his will to his animal instincts is really a slave to his passions and not nearly as free as the as the person who submits his will to God.

Meditations – July 19, 2017

By Christopher Simon
Wisdom & Humility Are Complementary
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  ~ James 3:17 NIV
There is a natural tendency to feel proud when we know things that others don’t, and we can be tempted to show off our knowledge. A significant difference between wisdom and knowledge is that wisdom does not make us prideful, whereas knowledge tends to do so. 
Most careers require us to know things and know how to do things that others don’t, and so it’s fitting and proper for us to have that knowledge or know-how in our lives. But wisdom counsels humility. Wisdom is having perspective, good judgement, and understanding how to prioritize what really matters in life, and using it for the benefit of yourself and others.
Wise people have selfknowledge, understanding both their strengths and weaknesses.They have a broader perspective and are never narrowminded, and yet they can get to the heart of important problems, and are willing and able to help others do it as well. The wise person doesn’t force his or her advice on others or lord it over them, unlike the knowledgeable person,who may feel resentful when his superior knowledge or advice isn’t taken seriously. Wisdom by its very nature makes us humble, because we realize how frail and fleeting our lives are.

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