September 10, 2021

September 10, 2021

September 10, 2021

Bernice Howard
Laity

Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Devotion

And just what are those meditations of my heart? According to Merriam-Webster the actual meaning of meditation is “to engage in contemplation or reflection,” as in the sentence, “He meditated long and hard before announcing his decision.” Webster also defines the verb as “to focus on one’s thoughts: to reflect over or ponder” and “to plan or project the mind: intend or propose” as in the sentence, “He was meditating on his past achievements or meditating revenge.”
 
When we consider, contemplate, kick around, weigh, study, wrestle, think about, or think something over, we are indeed meditating on our thoughts. And such thoughts we have! Thoughts fueled by the daily activities and cares of life, leading us to feel discouraged or saddened, creating emotions like anxiety, anger, fear, sadness, depression, confusion. We may even feel demoralized, disheartened, dismayed, frustrated, or unnerved.
 
But we desire to be happy, to feel optimistic, emboldened, encouraged, inspired, heartened, cheered, and hopeful! We must seek help to find our desired state of mind. We all need good examples of the right way to find that Hope!
 
I love the words of Howard Thurman, the great philosopher, theologian, and civil rights leader, in his book Meditations of the Heart and believe his words give excellent advice on finding that way in his short meditation “An Island of Peace Within One’s Soul,” quoted here:
 
“A beautiful and significant phrase, ‘Island of Peace within one’s own soul.’ The individual lives his life in the midst of a wide variety of stresses and strains. There are many tasks in which he is engaged that are not meaningful to him, even though they are important in secondary ways. There are many responsibilities that are his by virtue of training, or family, or position. Again and again, decisions must be made as to small and large matters; each one involves him in devious ways. No one is ever free from the peculiar pressures of his own life. Each one has to deal with the evil aspects of life, with injustices inflicted upon him and injustices which he wittingly or unwittingly inflicts upon others. We are all of us deeply involved in the throes of our own weaknesses and strengths, expressed often in the profoundest conflicts within our own souls. The only hope for surcease, the only possibility of stability for the person, is to establish an Island of Peace within one’s own soul. Here one brings for review the purposes and dreams to which one’s life is tied. This is the place where there is no pretense, no dishonesty, no adulteration. What passes over the threshold is simon-pure. What one really thinks and feels about one’s own life stands revealed; what one really thinks and feels about other people far and near is seen with every nuance honestly labeled: love is love, hate is hate, fear is fear. Well within the island is the Temple where God dwells – not the God of the creed, the church, the family, but the God of one’s heart. Into His Presence one comes with all of one’s problems and faces His scrutiny. What a man is, what his plans are, what his authentic point is, where his life goes – all is available to him in the Presence. How foolish it is, how terrible, if you have not found your Island of Peace within your own soul! It means that you are living without the discovery of your true home.”
 

Prayer

Dear Lord, please guide our hearts to this Island of Peace, found within our own soul, when guided by You. Show us how to find our true home – this Island, how to maintain this Island, how to revel in this Island. Show us how to be pleasing to you in thought, word, and deed. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
 

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