Think…think…think…

If you have young children, you may recognize the title of this post as a quote. For those that may not have the powers of kid-TV-knowledge, the quote comes from a character beloved by many: Winnie the Pooh. Whenever he gets in a bind, you see him with hand tapping the side of his head, with that arm held up by the other. “Think…think…think…”

I learned a new game this summer at work. It is simply called, “The Game,” and as soon as you think about it, you lose. (For those that know the Game, you just lost!) What thoughts have held your mind’s attention today?

One of the disciplines of the faith that is said to be losing practice is that of meditation. Meditation is simply thinking about something for a longer period of time than usual. For some of us, deliberately thinking about a task or a quote or a project for more than a few seconds can seem like spending too much time on it.

After Moses’ death, we are told that God spoke to Joshua, his successor, and gave him the following instruction:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
(Joshua 1:8, NKJV)

Meditation is supposed to be part of our lives. We should be taking the time to ponder, consider and dwell on certain topics. Of course, we do; they’re just not usually the topics we should be dwelling on.

What was your answer to the question, “What thoughts have held your mind’s attention today?” We are in the midst of the H1N1 pandemic. I saw on the news today that H1N1 is now the predominant strain of influenza, around the world. It’s everywhere. There aren’t enough vaccines anymore. Why does the government seem confused that people are in such a panic when H1N1 dominates the media?

Of course, today the news is different, isn’t it? An American military installation was attacked by a gunman, and twelve soldiers are dead, a few dozen others are injured. But this wasn’t in Afghanistan, it was in Texas. The perpetrators weren’t Al Qaeda or insurgents; it was a fellow American military officer. Tonight this story fills the newswaves with coverage of news conferences, video from the scene, and a statement by President Obama.

Forget about the recession, your 401(k) or RRSP, how you’ll pay for your kids’ college tuition and those winter tires you need to pass inspection. What’s on your mind? What fills your thoughts when your eyes glaze over and no one knows what those wheels are turning in your head?

God’s Meditations

I’m pretty sure that God meditates. He has thoughts that He dwells on, chews on, and lets sink into His heart. You don’t believe me? Check out this verse:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV)

Most of the more modern versions translate the word “thoughts” to “plans,” but I think that does an injustice to the what God is saying to us here.

When someone makes a plan, it is something done beforehand. When I plan my grocery list, I write out what I need, often arranging it by store, so that I know where I’m going and what I need so that I don’t forget anything. Do you think God writes out all of His plans for you and then checks them off as they happen? Is it possible that He has to write out what He desires for us so that He doesn’t forget to do something in our lives?

Plans are past tense; they are made and then referenced. Thoughts, however, are continual, always moving, growing, deepening, reaching further than they did yesterday. They are not only present tense, they are future tense. As long as life continues for us, we continue in His thoughts. Remember that…

…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28, NIV)

God is working things out for us. He didn’t sit down once upon a time in eternity and write everything out, planning it just right so He could sit back and relax while everything plays out in front of Him. His role in our lives is not passive. He is active, today and at this very moment.

If I’m depressed, I know He lifts me up in His thoughts. When I do well, living like Christ, He smiles. Scripture says that He sings over me. Even when I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, He is thinking of me.

* * *

That’s what God meditates upon. But what about us? Are we thinking about the right things?

Carry a piece of paper and a pen around with you today and journal the things that occupy your mind. Don’t think of it as a diary or a log book for the day; details and stories aren’t necessary. Just take a moment and write down the topic, the big idea.

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