February 29, 2004 § Leave a Comment
Author: Thomas Jefferson
“When we see ourselves in a situation which must be endured and gone through, it is best to make up our minds to it, meet it with firmness and accommodate everything to it in the best way practicable. This lessens the evil, while fretting and fuming only serves to increase your own torments.”
Source: COL John Baker, USA (Ret.)
February 16, 2002 § Leave a Comment
Dear Lord, I thank You for this day. I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning. I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Lord I love you and I need you, come into my heart, please. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you. I ask now for Your forgiveness.
Please keep me safe from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You. Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things. Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over. Let me continue to see sin through God’s eyes and acknowledge it as evil. And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.
And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus’ example to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. It’s the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits. I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart. Continue to use me to do Your will. Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others.
I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way. I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don’t know You intimately. I pray for those that don’t believe. But I thank you that I believe. I believe that God changes people and God changes things.
I pray for all my sisters and brothers. For each and every family member in their households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt and all their needs are met.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God. Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.
I pray for America in the face of the tragedies and terrorism of September 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsilvania and anywhere else in the world that Americans are in danger just for being Americans.
This is my prayer,
In Jesus’ Name,
September 19, 2001 § 1 Comment
As Christians, we should always filter everything through our conscious mind, which contains our morals. We should never surrender control, never let anything enter our minds through any other way, because it may come from the devil and it may influence us in ways that we cannot now imagine and will most surely regret later.
This article is better understood in light of a previous article that I wrote, entitled “Awakening Your Conscience“, so if you find yourself puzzled by some of the concepts introduced here, you should also read that article.
Our conscience is our primary shield of defense against temptation and perverse ideas. It is the filter of our mind. It contains a set of morals that are the measuring sticks. If we do things the right way, we automatically compare every idea or temptation that we come across with these measuring sticks, and if they come up short, we toss them away (or at least we should). The set of morals is God’s gift to us when we believe on Him and ask Him to change our lives as He deems fit.
The problem is that if we simply let ideas drift into our minds without actively considering their moral and religious implications, we do not use our conscience, and we thus deprive ourselves of our most valuable weapon against temptation and sin. Here is where the importance of staying continually alert and actively keeping ourselves away from potentially dangerous situations comes to the forefront. The warnings to keep watch are throughout the Bible:
“Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.” Luke 12:37.
Jesus warns about letting down our guard and letting others lead us in the book of Matthew: “But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:13, 14.
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13.
Even the apostle Paul, so famous for his faith, said this: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:27.
If it sounds like too much to handle, it is. For us alone, it is too much. That is why we must not only ask God to change our life, but to help us live it the way He wants us, to keep us away from temptation and strengthen us daily so that we may resist temptation.
Today perhaps more than ever temptation seems to be everywhere. And when I talk about temptation, I talk about the same temptations that mankind has been struggling with since God created us. They are outlined in the Ten Commandments, Exodus Chapter 20. We must continually keep the Law in our minds, and seek to obey it of our own accord. These ten laws are the backbone upon which our morality is built. If we do not memorize them and keep them close to our heart and in the forefront of our mind every moment of our conscious existence, we are without defense against temptation and sin. Before we know it, it has already entered our mind and we now have to fight with it from the inside, which is a much harder thing to do; most people fail at it.
More than anything, we must try to keep ourselves out of situations where we will encounter temptation, because that is the easiest and most effective way to avoid being tempted. I have outlined a few practical examples below.
If you must listen to the radio, listen analytically to every piece of music that you hear. Most, if not all of today’s lyrics are filled with garbage, and actually invite us to commit sin. What’s worse is that these lyrics are wrapped in catchy tunes that make the message a lot harder to decode and reject. Most of us fall prey to good music, and we find ourselves moving our bodies to words that we would reject outright if we were to hear without the tune. If you doubt what I’m saying, I invite you to procure the lyrics to the most popular songs that you hear on radio stations. They are freely available on the Internet at fan sites. Read the lyrics, and I am absolutely convinced that you will find them despicable if you compare them to the Law of God and to Bible morality in general. They talk about adultery, violence, drug and alcohol use, and a bevy of other perverse and questionable topics. So if you must listen to the radio, steer away from top 40 stations. Listen to classical music. I doubt you’ll find anything sinful or tempting in Mozart or Beethoven’s music.
If you must watch TV, try not to watch the music video channels. Music videos are even worse than the songs on the radio. They bombard you with insinuating and outright provocative visual and auditory temptations, and this is all too much for anyone to handle. While our eyes and brain are busy staving off the visual attacks, the lyrics go right through our ears and into our brains, and we find ourselves wanting to engage in the sinful behaviors of those people before we even know what’s going on. TV in general should not be watched for extended periods of time. I even recommend avoiding the TV if it is at all possible for you. You’ll be much better off, because the TV is a source of temptation. Our minds are not active when we watch TV. We become figurative zombies, our eyes glued to the set. Studies show that our bodies react to the TV scenes as if we are in them. In other words, if we see a fight scene, our body secretes chemicals that get us ready for a fight, etc. This speaks volumes about our lack of control over the images and sounds that our mind receives from the TV. We cannot distance ourselves from it, and we become trapped in the oftentimes sick and perverted imagination of the scriptwriter, director or network executives. What’s on TV isn’t real. It’s all thought up by people who are getting paid to produce materials that will captivate the public. Please avoid watching TV if you can, and certainly do not let your kids watch it without your supervision. It is an easy trap to fall into, but one that clamps down hard and holds on tight. I should mention here that I’m a cartoon junkie, but in all my 25 years of cartoon watching, I haven’t found much that was questionable or wrong with Looney Tunes or Tom & Jerry.
When you read a book or an article, or you are having a conversation with someone, distance yourself from the conversation. Don’t get too entranced in it. Analyze the words and the gestures and facial expressions of the other person. Everyone has an agenda that they want to get across, and unless it’s God’s agenda, you shouldn’t embrace it wholeheartedly without putting it through rigorous moral testing. Job, Isaiah, David, Solomon, Paul and Jesus Himself all said that we are perverse throughout. They must have been onto something! Everyone has hidden motivations behind every one of their actions, no matter how sincere or helpful they may appear. These motivations may be conscious, or subconscious (even they may not be aware of them.) It is very unfortunate, but that is the way we are. We have a sinful nature, and even when we try to do good, we end up doing evil. Everything that we do is stained with our sins. Nothing that we touch is clean. I am amazed that I can pray to God and I have His assurance that He listens to my prayers. I am amazed beyond amazement that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for me and my sins. I honestly cannot yet comprehend His sacrifice. I certainly know that I am not worthy of even His listening ear, much less His holy life. But we are His creatures. He made us, He fashioned us, and He died for us that we may rise from death at His second coming, and join Him in heaven.
In the meanwhile, we should all keep constant watch. We should never let go of our conscience, but always filter everything through it. It is the least we can do for all that He has done for us. “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16.