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Dear Crosswalk family,

It has been rightly observed that Americans spend an inordinate amount of time, resources, and energy to care for our physical bodies and to manage our outward circumstances. But the care for our souls is low on the priority list of most, if it finds a place on such a list at all.

The Bible gives us many spiritual exercises to care for our souls. One of them is meditation. Now most Americans associate meditation with Buddhism, or “New Age” religions. But meditation is encouraged in the Bible. The Book of Psalms is the Bible’s “Prayer and Worship Book.” The first Psalm sets the stage and prepares us for the rest of the songs and prayers recorded therein:

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 (NIV)
This psalm essentially says whatever shapes your thinking shapes your life. We can fill our minds with the advice of the wicked, the sinners, and the mockers; OR, we can take delight in God’s truth and meditate on it, day and night. In other words, the purpose of biblical meditation is to fill our minds with the truth that God reveals to us in his word.

This is quite distinct from eastern meditation. According to the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, Meditation is primarily concerned with caring for the mind. …By… gaining control over our mind, we can sever the root of all suffering completely… We can escape from all suffering and dissatisfaction permanently. Really? This is based on the Buddhist view that suffering is an illusion. The Bible teaches that suffering is real, that it can't be escaped, but that it can be overcome!
Biblical meditation is about overcoming suffering by relying on the promises of God and the truth that is in Jesus. It is about concentrating our thoughts on what really matters. There are many examples of biblical meditation is the Psalms. Here’s one:

Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
                                                - Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

Here, the psalmist speaks to his own soul the truth God has revealed to us. It is a blessed practice, and a great way to begin each day.

May the Lord help us to care for our souls!
You cannot escape the hurts of this world, but you can overcome them in Jesus’ name!
Pastor John

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