26 May 2008

Christian “Mind Games”

The 24-hour news cycle generates stress and distress for the Militant Pacifist.

Maybe one way to reduce the stress and distress would be to avoid the news – but the Militant Pacifist thinks there is an even better way:

Mind-games; Thought control. 
If you’re interested, read on!

When David returned to Ziklag after being forbidden to go on a raid with Achish, he found his wives and children missing, and his house on fire. His companions became so irate that they spoke of stoning him. In the midst of this distress – the scriptures teach that David “encouraged himself in the LORD his God (1 Samuel 30:6).

Though David was so downcast that he couldn’t encourage others – he had enough presence of mind (or divine grace) that he was able to encourage himself in the LORD.

Though some might consider the advocacy of self-talk and divine contemplation as measures to combat distress or depression as advocating “mind-games,” the practice has a venerable history in Christian piety.

As noted above, David practices the technique in 1st Samuel 30, (other great examples are in Psalms 42, 43 and 73) and it was David who wrote in Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

In the New Testament, we find the great Apostle Paul advocating Christian thought control - “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8),” and even encouraging active manipulation/direction of the human affections. Writing to the Colossians, he says – “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).”

Let’s play mind games!

15 May 2008

Sermons We See

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.

- Edgar Albert Guest (1881 – 1959)

12 May 2008

Even the sins of the saints...

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:28

From Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662

All the afflictions, and
all the temptations, and
all the desertions, and
all the oppressions, and
all the oppositions, and
all the persecutions—
which befall a godly man,
shall work for his good.

Every cross, and
every loss, and
every disease—
which befall the holy man,
shall work for his good.

Every device,
every snare,
every deceit,
every depth,
every stratagem,
and every enterprise of Satan against
the holy man, shall work for his good.

They shall all help to make him . . .
more humble,
more holy,
more heavenly,
more spiritual,
more faithful,
more fruitful,
more watchful.

Every prosperity and every adversity;
every storm and every calm;
every bitter and every sweet;
every cross and every comfort—
shall work for the holy man's good.

When God gives a mercy—
that shall work for his good.
When God takes away a mercy—
that shall work for his good.

Yes, even all the falls and all the sins of
the saints shall work for their good. Oh . . .
the care,
the fear,
the watchfulness,
the tenderness,
the zeal—
which God raises in the souls of His saints by their
very falls! Oh the hatred, the indignation, and the
detestation—which God raises in the hearts of His
children against sin—by their very falling into sin!

Oh what love to Christ,
what thankfulness for Christ,
what admiration of Christ,
what cleaving to Christ,
what exalting of Christ,
what drawings from Christ's grace—
are saints led to, by their very falls!

It is the glory of God's holiness, that . . .
He can turn spiritual diseases—into holy remedies!
He can turn soul poisons—into heavenly cordials!
He can prevent sin by sin, and cure falling by falling!

O Christian! What though friends and relations frown upon you,
what though enemies are plotting and conspiring against you,
what though needs, like armed men, are breaking in upon you,
what though men rage, and devils roar against you,
what though sickness is devastating your family,
what though death stands every day at your elbow—
yet there is no reason for you to fear nor faint, because
all these things shall work for your good! Yes, there is
wonderful cause of joy and rejoicing in all the afflictions
and tribulations which come upon you—considering that
they shall all work for your good.

O Christians! I am afraid, I am afraid—that you do not
run so often as you should—to the breasts of this promise,
nor draw that sweetness and comfort from it, that it would
yield, and that your several cases may require. "We know
that all things work together for good, to those who love
God, to those who are called according to His purpose." I
have been the longer upon this verse, because the condition
of God's people calls for the strongest cordials, and the
choicest and the sweetest comforts.

08 May 2008

This Is A Man

Oh Lord, "Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man." Psalm 108:12

04 May 2008

From the mouths of babes...

Click on the link in the posting title above to get your heart warmed...