Category: Meditations

Meditations – September 30, 2020

By Christopher Simon
Getting over it
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” ~Isaiah 43:18 NIVSometimes our reaction to bad events, and our inability to “get over” the event exacerbates the
problem. We all have losses that hit us hard, whether the loss is something material, such as money, or something more personal, like a loved one.
We should learn from our material losses so as not to repeat them, for instance, learning that it’s not wise to panic when the stock market is down and sell your stocks at a loss. And when the loss is something more serious, like losing a family member, we need to take time to grieve and process our feelings. Failing to do so may keep us from ever really getting over it.
Sometimes the things we need to get over are things which caused us to get angry or resentful. We can harbor feelings of bitterness or desires for revenge for years, or even decades, which can be incapacitating and inhibit us from getting on with our lives. We may not be able to forget the harm that was done to us, but forgiving the person who we believe wronged us is usually a good thing to do for our own emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Asking God to help us forgive the other person is often the only way to get over our bitterness.
Life will go on whether we get over the bad experience or not. The real question is the quality of our life, and that may depend on our getting over it sooner rather than later.

Meditations – September 23, 2020

By Christopher Simon
What Prophets Do
“As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.” ~1 Kings 22:14 NIV
We tend to think of prophets as people who foretell the future, but that is only one aspect of prophecy. If we read the Old Testament carefully, we see that the prophets were wise men and social critics, people who were often called upon by kings to give them advice. The kings didn’t always like the advice they received, but the good prophets always gave it straight, without sugar-coating, and in speaking the unvarnished truth to power, often ended up in dire straits.
Consider the prophet Micaiah, who advised King Ahab that he would be defeated by the Syrians, despite all of the other prophets telling him he would be victorious. (1 Kings 22) Micaiah ended up imprisoned for his trouble, and King Ahab ended up killed in battle, with the dogs licking up his blood, as prophesied.
Are there prophets today, holy men and women who hear the voice of God and speak truth to power, despite negative consequences? The people in power frequently do not like to be told the truth, but that is what prophets do. Where are the prophets today?

Meditations – September 16, 2020

By Christopher Simon
Self-pity is a deep pit
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
We all indulge in self-pity from time to time. Sometimes it seems like we’ve been dealt a lousy hand. I recall a counselor once saying, as I was lamenting some problems I was having, “it’s tough to be you,” which seemed to actually give me license to pity myself even more. But what I think he was really saying was to not be so hard on myself. What I was suffering from was the tyranny of all the obligations I was placing on myself. And sometimes we do indeed feel sorry for ourselves because of all the obligations placed on us, by ourselves or others.
Perhaps we need to learn how to say no to others, and change the “shoulds” to “coulds.” That is, every time you find yourself saying “I should do x,” switch it to “I could do x.” So instead of saying “I should call my mother,” why not instead say “I could call my mother”? That slight change of wording changes the whole tenor of how it feels.
To get back to the morass of self-pity that we often find ourselves in, the problem with indulging self-pity is that it takes us down a rabbit-hole that can be hard to get out of. Sure, life is tough, but it’s also beautiful, and full of opportunities. Thank God for the aspects of your life which make it hard; they are sometimes the very things that allow us to grow.

Meditations – September 9, 2020

By Christopher Simon
Don’t volunteer to be a victim
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” ~ Alice Walker
It may seem odd to think that some people actually volunteer to be victims, but if you let yourself be abused or degraded without fighting back or at least voicing your reluctance to be victimized then you are at the very least complicit in your victimhood.
A less obvious way in which we volunteer to be victims is when someone offers us something that we know isn’t good for us. An alcoholic who accepts a drink is volunteering for victimhood, as is anyone who takes something they know is dangerous.
If you’re in an uncomfortable situation, you have the right to leave. If someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, you can say no. Saying yes to every request is the surest path to victimization in this world.
And another, less obvious way in which we volunteer to be a victim is when others put us down and we engage with them. They are goading you to play their game, and you can simply refuse to play it. There are real victims in this world, people who through no fault of their own are harmed by others. But sometimes we leave the car unlocked with valuables in clear view, or we accept the offer for something we don’t want, or we say yes when we should just say no.

Meditations – August 26, 2020

By Christopher Simon
Thinking of God as a friend
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” ~ Proverbs 17:17 NIV
Many of us were raised with the idea of God as a stern authority figure, the gray haired old man who gave us the ten commandments and all of the other rules of the Old Testament. But that is only one side of God’s nature, although admittedly an important part of God’s nature for a time in human history (and in our own personal development) when we needed explicit instruction on how to behave.
But there are many sides to God’s nature, and the one which many of us need to be more aware of is the aspect of God that is like a supportive and loyal friend. One of the benefits of constant prayer or communion with God is that it keeps us constantly in the presence of a God who is always there to help. Besides keeping in constant touch with God through prayer, it can help to think of God as a person, and this is why having a relationship with Jesus, who we can easily think of in human and personal terms, is so helpful to many people.
Doing things with God that you would do with a friend can also help, even if at first it might seem a bit “hokey.” Consider having a cup of coffee with God, or taking a walk with Him. Pray to Him the way you would talk to a trusted friend. Doing these things will make His presence more real and you will probably find yourself having more of a warm and personal relationship with God than the cold and abstract relationship that many of us grew up with.

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