Christian Resources

That old cat-killer, ‘Curiosity’

Curiosity killed the cat

Most of us have probably heard the old adage “Curiosity killed the cat”, but I submit to you that it has done more damage than that. I am convinced that it has killed quite a few humans as well.

It has also been, I suggest,  destructive in the spiritual life of believers. Perhaps there was a hint of curiosity even in of the well known parable of the Prodigal son, as he leaves for that far off land: to waste his substance in riotous living. (Luke 15)

If you, like I, were born with a inquiring mind, that curiosity may drive you in directions you never thought possible. It can be quite an explosive cocktail when mixed with the quick answers the internet provides.

Think of it. How do you respond when a headline flashes up on the webpage for something you are just curious about? Do you click it and head down a blind alley, not knowing what might come up next? I’m sure we have all been guilty of this at one time or another.

I suggest that we try not to make a habit of it, for curiosity can kill. Every corner on the internet may just have some hidden danger around it. We must remember that a 5 second look at something impure can take 20 years to erase. Worse, it can start a chain reaction which can lead ultimately to spiritual disaster.

How can we combat it? Here are some suggestions that I intend to try to follow.

1. Limit yourself – Can you limit yourself to (say) an hour a day on the internet? Believe it or not, the world revolved, the birds sang, and people lived for God before the internet was created 20-odd years ago!

2. Have a Purpose – Try to have a useful purpose when on the net. Surfing is  relaxing but it can also be stupefying, helping your guard to drop and making susceptible to things that normally you would steer clear of.

3. Quick Confession – If you do happen to stumble across something smutty or unclean, take yourself to the Lord to confess and forsake it. Even spend time reading His word to cleanse your mind.

4. Remember what God has made you, and to whom your eyes belong to. (1)

– “You are bought with a price” 1 Cor 6:20

– “Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27

5. Remember that everyone of us has the flesh within, i.e. high explosive waiting for a fiery dart, therefore put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:13-18)

6. Find an accountability partner and set up accountability software such as accountable2you.

Curiosity can start innocently enough,  but please remember, like the metaphorical cat, you don’t know what’s around the corner.

 

(1) A recommended book on these issues “Look Straight Ahead” – Sam Thorpe Jr, Everyday Publications”  is found at the following link

https://www.ecsministries.org/367975.ihtml

 

 

 

 

 

It was battered and scarred… Just like us!

mh900382756.JPG  
'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
       Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
       But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
     "Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar. Then two! Only two?
      Two dollars, and who'll make it three?"
      

"Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
      Going for three..." But no,
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
      Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
      And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
      As a caroling angel sings.
      

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
      With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
      And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
      Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
     And going and gone," said he.
      

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
     "We do not quite understand.
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply:
     "The touch of the Master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
      And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
      Much like the old violin.
      

A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine,
     A game -- and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
    He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
     Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
     By the touch of the Master's hand.
      


Myra Brooks Welch
 
How true was that with us? 
Perhaps there are some people reading 
this blog who don't really know the Saviour. 
He can change your life if you let Him. 
Turn from your sin and trust the Saviour today, 
He died for you and rose again.

Review – Working with God through Prayer – D. Edmond Hiebert

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If you want to reassess and revitalize your prayer life in a biblical way, I recommend the above book. I found it most helpful. It is the sort of book that can be read a chapter at a time over a few weeks, leaving gaps to chew over what you have learned.

Hiebert is challenging and yet at the same time very scriptural. I found the section on Israel’s war with Amalek especially helpful.

I think the older versions of the book used to specify “intercessory prayer” in the title. This must be kept in mind. Hiebert is not really dealing with worship or thanksgiving – his focus is rather intercession and supplication.

Recommended reading.

I will have to read it again!

ISBN 1579249779

Publisher: Bob Jones University Press

Napoleon’s Conversion?

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Napoleon Bonaparte of France was a great dictator, military strategist and legislator in the 18th and early 19th Century. His military conquests were such that at one stage he had almost all Europe under his control. On the back of the secular culture of France, with it’s anti-god ethos, he rose to power. He was eventually defeated after losing practically a whole army to the Russian winter and subsequently in later years the Battle of Waterloo (1815) to the Duke of Wellington.

He was then exiled to the Island of St Helena were he lived the last 6 years of his life under British custody. He spent much of this time in the study of philosophy and religion. Some of his conclusions are very interesting!

He compared other “religious leaders” to the Lord Jesus and also compared the great world leaders to Him as well. If you have a spare 30 minutes some time, listen to what he had to say about our Saviour.

I don’t know if he went beyond an intellectual appreciation of the Son of God to heart conversion but some of the statements he made would certainly suggest that he may have.

The link to this story is http://www.theglorystory.com/html/glory_stories.htm . On this page click into the top link.

Look straight ahead – A call to men for moral purity (Sam Thorpe Jr.)

My brother David  asked me to recommend this book on the blog. He has done a brief review on it below.

Look Sraight Ahead

“The title of this book comes from the Proverbs (4v25 NKJV) “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you”. It is written for a specific audience as the title suggests – men.

The writer recognises that, in the present day the possibility of exposure to moral temptation has been greatly increased. He quotes “The number one sexual sin in churches today is the use of pornography by men. This is no surprise, considering the availability and anonymity of the internet”.

Now, to some young men, it might seem an impossibility for them to become ensnared in such a practice but it must be remembered that none of us are exempt from the flesh and its evil tendencies. Paul would exhort Timothy “Flee…youthful lusts…” and this book is written to help men to do just that.

Having just finished reading the book through, I was impressed by the simple and solemn way in which the subject is treated and the obvious care and compassion of the author as he seeks to help men who have difficulties in these areas.” [David Williamson]

Sounds like worthwhile reading! It can be bought from Everyday Publications. They are on the web at  www.everydaypublications.org.

Gospel of John booklets for evangelism – LivingWater

Maybe I’m strange but I have about a billion issues when it comes to tracts and literature for distribution to unbelievers! Some issues over the last number of years I have scrapped. Other issues remain with me, I feel they are valid.

1. I have a dislike of “sinner’s prayers” at the end of tracts and evangelistic booklets. I think they are dangerous. They have little scriptural warrant anyway. We cannot allow people to think that by rhyming words over like a catachism they will somehow be saved. No doubt some have been saved by genuinely believing and have used these as prayers in the process, but we must not make salvation a work.

2. I increasingly have difficulty using literature which people might have problems with understanding. We do not want to create unnecessary barriers. “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” (1 Cor 14v8 NKJV). One of the main aims in evangelism is to reach people, especially those who don’t know.

3. I think that literature should be Christ-centred. With reference to man’s need of Him, His death and the open offer of salvation.

4. I believe that literature should be presentable. People will form their opinions as to whether you care about the message you are presenting to them by the quality of your literature. (I don’t mean that we should to go overboard on this one, but I do think it should be taken into account).

Gospel of John

I have recently come across a free gospel of John for distribution, which answers almost all my queries. I didn’t think one existed but I was wrong. I have read through much of it. It has brief explanatory notes in places (as far as I can see, biblically sound), no sinner’s prayer. It is a translated by Art Farstad (William McDonald’s Editor for his Bible Commentary, General Editor of NKJV) for true to the text but easy reading. It is John’s gospel, given by God for evangelism. It is also very presentable. You’ll find it and information about it at www.livingwater.org

Hymns – Missing Verses (3)

Some hymns are vastly inproved by the removal or editing of some of the verses.

  I quite accept that there should be a measure of license given to hymnwriters. Sometimes inaccuracies in bible doctrine don’t directly undermine the person of Christ, or the majesty of God. As Paul clearly intimates none of us know things as we ought to know them anyway! (1 Cor 8). Please don’t think I’m trying to foster a censorious spirit towards hymnwriters!

However, I do believe we should be careful what we say in public worship and witness as to the person of Christ. The ark of the covenant (which typifies the Person of Christ) was to be handled and covered by the priests alone and carried by the Levites. You will remember the result when David didn’t follow God’s directives but copied the Philistines by placing the Ark on a cart (2 Samuel 6).

One hymn verse that particularly annoys me speaks of the dying thief and says that he “looked with pitying eyes (to the Lord Jesus) and said O Lord remember me”.

Lets be clear about this: 1. There is not one word in Luke 23 to support this thought of “pitying eyes”. 2. There is no way that he was saved by looking on the Lord with pitying eyes. Pleading eyes might have been allowable! The man was exercising faith, not pity. He was the object of the Lord’s pity, not the other way around. I think that the hymn writer must have taken leave of his senses when he wrote that line!

I think that this truth is so important when we are presenting the Gospel of Christ to others who are not Christians. The unbelieving world might like to feel “sorry for” the Lord on the Cross, but the Christian delights in proclaiming the Cross as the very power of God (1 Corinthians 1). The One who died on the Cross, did so voluntarily, as an answer to the throne of God with regards to our problem of sin. Glorious truth! Let us not demean this story of redeeming love or try to evoke a sentimental response of pity in the heart of unbelievers. This wonderful person is on Heaven’s throne at this very minute, raised from the dead. The cross should bow the heart of every person in contrition at the sin of mankind, and prostrate us all in worship at the love of God in giving His Son to save an undeserving world! 

Back to hymns – there are some verses left out of other hymns that could do with inclusion! Here is love, vast as the ocean is a particular favourite of mine. I didn’t realise until about a year ago that there were more than 2 verses to it!

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

Let me all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.

In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting,
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.

William Rees/William Williams

Our Daily Bread Website

If you, like me, find yourself aimlessly browsing the internet at times, turn it into a time of profit by checking out the this website, especially the devotional.

Our Daily Bread has a short online message for each day and they can be very challanging and thought provoking.

 The URL is http://www.rbc.org/odb/odb.shtml – see for yourself!

Our Daily Bread devotional

Alternatively – do what I aspire to do, – spend less time on the internet!