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.
Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices, must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts.
Many of the popular publications of the day are filled with sensational stories that are educating the youth in wickedness and leading them in the path to perdition. Mere children in years are old in a knowledge of crime. They are incited to evil by the tales they read…. The seeds of lawlessness are sown broadcast. None need marvel that a harvest of crime is the result.
The readers of fiction are indulging an evil that destroys spirituality, eclipsing the beauty of the sacred page. It creates an unhealthy excitement, fevers the imagination, unfits the mind for usefulness, weans the soul from prayer, and disqualifies it for any spiritual exercise.
Suffer not yourselves to open the lids of a book that is questionable. There is a hellish fascination in the literature of Satan. It is the powerful battery by which he tears down a simple religious faith. Never feel that you are strong enough to read infidel books; for they contain a poison like that of asps.
Young men and young women, read the literature that will give you true knowledge, and that will be a help to the entire family. Say firmly: “I will not spend precious moments in reading that which will be of no profit to me, and which only unfits me to be of service to others…. I will close my eyes to frivolous and sinful things.”
The oftener and more diligently you study the Bible, the more beautiful will it appear, and the less relish you will have for light reading. Bind this precious volume to your hearts. It will be to you a friend and guide.
The Faith I Live By p. 241
—-We need wisdom and direction from God. Pray for this. Buck
—-Requesting urgent prayer for someone close to me who is going through something extremely difficult right at this very moment and the effects may last for weeks, months or even years. Mary
Until I was five, my grandmother had a piano. When I showed an interest in it and began trying to pick out songs on it, she sold it. It nearly broke my heart. She should have given me lessons instead. From that moment, I kept the desire to learn to play the piano bottled up inside of me. A couple of months before my 14th birthday, my mother told me that she had enough money saved to buy me a piano or to pay for lessons, but she could not afford both. She worked very hard for long hours and even then, we had almost nothing. So this present was extra special. I reasoned, “If I choose the lessons, I’ll have nothing to practice on and they’ll do me no good.” So I chose the piano.
My grandmother let me have a hymnal that she never used. My mother showed me where middle C was on the keyboard and on the music. Then she said, “If you really want to learn, you’ll figure it out.” From what I had learned in choir at school, by the time my birthday arrived, I could play Rock of Ages and a few other songs. God blessed and in a couple of more months, I could play any song in that hymn book. There was so much about music that I didn’t even begin to realize, but that didn’t bother me. I just loved playing. My grandmother gave me her old sheet music, and I began a collection of popular music from the 1860’s through the 1920’s. Beyond that era, I didn’t care for the music much.
A couple of years later, I started going to church. The piano player in the youth department had just gone away to school, so they had no one to play. When they asked me if I could play the piano, I made the mistake of answering in the affirmative. They told me that I could play for song service. That was a disaster. I had never heard any of the songs and I didn’t sight read very well. It is a wonder that I kept going to church for every week I would literally get sick to my stomach I was so afraid. I felt very unsure of myself. Finally, I began staying in the adult division to escape having to play.
Someone wise must have realized what was the problem and set me to work playing the piano for Cradle Roll. By the time I was 18, I was sight reading much better and could play nearly any song in the church hymnal. When asked to play for a special meeting they were having, I began to feel a little proud. I walked up to the piano and began to play “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I was doing fairly well and was really enjoying myself, when suddenly a puff of wind blew the pages of my song book and I was looking at a completely different song. I didn’t know what to do. I stopped. The congregation kept singing. I sort of knew the tune and tried to pick it out with my right hand while fumbling through the book with my left hand, trying desperately to find the right page. Why of why hadn’t I noticed what page number I had been playing. I felt a hundred pairs of eyes looking at me. I was totally humiliated.
After what seemed like an eternity, my friend Laurel brought up another hymnal that she had opened to the right page. She pointed to the right place in the music; and I began to play as if nothing had ever happened, but inside I felt shaky and unsure of myself. She took other hymnals and propped the book open so I would not lose my place again. It was all so very embarrassing, but it was very good for me. That pride that I had begun to feel, had completely vanished. Over the years, I have had many more embarrassing moments that have not allowed pride to return.
Jesus taught, “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matt 23:12 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
Many times Jesus helped His disciples understand this principle. It was a hard lesson for them to learn. Their whole focus was on being the greatest and having the highest place in the kingdom that they were sure that Jesus was about to establish. “And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.” Mark 9:33-37 Really, we have so little to be proud of. Even the most talented person is dependant upon God for his very breath. James reminds us, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14 Peter agrees, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:24,25
Praise God that “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities….Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.” Ps 103:10-13
Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Rom 12:1-3
May we never allow pride to fill us with self-importance. May we remember to stay close to our Dear Saviour Who is our Only Strength, our Only Helper. May we look away from self and focus on Him Who gave His life to redeem us is my prayer.