Search Results for 'contentment'

Philippians 4:13-What Is Everything or All Things?

This is a Repost from 2008 (if you’d like to see the comments), except a comic from Adam4d has been added here that a friend tipped me off to, and an addendum. Also, this post was written when the TNIV was the update of the NIV which they released in 2005, before they changed it back to NIV in 2011. (If that’s confusing, there’s basically an original NIV from 1978 and it has been updated, with the TNIV rendering the same as the [more] updated NIV.)

Comic - Philippians 4:13

Click on the comic to go to his site.

Philippians 4:13 NASB
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 NIV [’78]
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13 TNIV/NIV [2011]
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I really like the TNIV rendering. Can you imagine if the TNIV was the standard rendering throughout the years how this wouldn’t be constantly taken out of context (shown below) and/or misinterpreted? Even if it is a little bit interpretive.

Philippians 4:11-13 TNIV
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

I’m not only learning the importance of context [and still am] but also that the word all or everything isn’t always “an amount or quantity from which nothing is left out or held back” even in English:

Everything
1.
a. All things or all of a group of things.
b. All relevant matters: told each other everything.
2. The most important fact or consideration: In business, timing is everything.
American Heritage Dictionary

Addendum:
This has implications for a lot of Bible interpretation.

Two books based on Philippians 4:11 are The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment and The Art of Contentment, both written by Puritans. I’ve read both and they’re excellent. The latter is shorter, but I prefer the former.

Will you be content by running up and down in the ship?

It isn’t often that the Puritan authors would write with such force, but sometimes it’s warranted. This is at the end of a portion where he is writing about the power and reach of God’s providence in everything.

So I may say to every discontented, impatient heart: what, shall the providence of God change its course for you? Do you think it such a weak thing, that because it does not please you it must alter its course? Whether or not you are content the providence of God will go on, it has an efficacy of power, of virtue, to carry all things before it. Can you make one hair black or white with all the stir that you are making? When you are in a ship at sea which has all its sails spread with a full gale of wind, and is swiftly sailing, can you make it stand still by running up and down in the ship? No more can you make the providence of God alter and change its course with your vexing and fretting; it will go on with power, do what you can. Do but understand the power and efficacy of providence and it will be a mighty means helping you to learn this lesson of contentment.

–Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

This is but just one of the many components of learning contentment.

Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
Ecclesiastes 7:13

Contentment

Heart Corruptions

This is the last part of a prayer from The Valley of Vision. It describes so well what God is doing very recently, and what I want, even though the prayer is really about before and after being saved.

Thou hast struck a heavy blow at my pride,
at the false god of self,
and I lie in pieces before Thee.

But Thou hast given me another master and lord,
Thy Son, Jesus,
and now my heart is turned towards holiness,
my life speeds as an arrow from a bow
towards complete obedience to Thee.

Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride.
Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life,
from everything that is natural to fallen man,
and let Christ’s nature be seen in me day by day.
Grant me grace to bear Thy will without repining,
and delight to be not only
chiseled, squared, or fashioned,
but separated from the old rock
where I have been embedded so long,
and lifted from the quarry to the upper air,
where I may be built in Christ for ever.

Some of this almost sounds like an overly enthusiastic New Year’s resolution. These things may take a lifetime just to make some progress with God’s grace. Sometimes we want him to go faster, but when it comes to illuminating the depth of our sin, maybe not so much.

I need to remember this, along with things God has shown me in the past, such as not murmuring (The Art of Divine Contentment–I’ve been forgetting that one a lot lately), that I’m not my own, that I can’t straighten what is crooked (Ecclesiastes 1:15), that I’m not as abandoned to God* as I need to be (in which The Pursuit of God is a good barometer), and others.

*That may sound like a cliché, which isn’t usually me, but in my mind it’s a meaningful way of putting it. At least I didn’t write ‘sold out’ or ‘on fire’. (Emoticon goes here.)

The Secret to Spending Less Time on the Internet

Objective
The reason why I want to spend less time on the internet is so that I can spend more time reading and studying the Bible, and spending time reading books by authors that have proven to be worthy of reading. Hopefully this may help others with the same or different objectives for streamlining their time spent in front of a screen of one kind or another.

Time Wasters
There is a delicate balance, because there is a lot to be learned from material that’s on the internet, which I have greatly benefited from and will continue to do so. I’ve also wasted a lot of time. The main offenders for me would be YouTube and watching more YouTube videos that are suggested on the site, and Facebook along with reading articles linked from people on Facebook. I don’t think those sites are inherently bad; it’s a matter of managing what to do with them for most of the people who use them, unless they’re such a problem they need to quit altogether. Maybe these ideas could apply to sites that you frequent.

I could just eliminate them. But I don’t want to cut myself off from good internet friends by completely ignoring Facebook. That’s where a lot of my blogging friends are, some who aren’t blogging anymore. These people are valuable to me.

I’m learning various things from fitness channels on Youtube, trying to learn whatever I can to improve or maintain my health through nutrition and exercise with the limitations I have. I can find others in the same situation and learn from them. Most of us have our hobbies and interests that we have to balance. The secret below will be key.

That’s where I am in this whole thing. Here is what I’ve come up with:

Inspiration
The simplest article on this subject I have found is How To Read More — A Lot More. If your objective is to read more and you can do this, you can stop right here.

I haven’t read many biographies, but many people have stressed how valuable they can be. We can see how much people studied, and how well they were able to get along without the internet–as valuable as it can be. In some ways they were better off without it.

Social Media
Regarding social media, there are things you can do to streamline your time. For Facebook, many of you know that you can create lists, or categories of friends, and people or organizations that you follow. Make a short list of the most important. Make a list of friends you want to keep in touch with. Maybe once a week you can go through all of it.

Regarding Twitter, I only follow people who bring information to me, along with a select few people who are entertaining who don’t really take up much time to scan through. Instead of going out and looking for what’s going on in certain areas, I can follow people who will post these things for me. Make Twitter work for you.

If you like to comment on forums, people’s walls, blogs, or whatever medium it is, ask yourself if it would be beneficial for yourself and for them to do so. If there are a lot of comments already and you’re just posting something silly, or getting into an argument (not that I’ve ever done that), then you’re wasting everybody’s time, and in addition to that, now you have stuff coming in your email inbox whenever someone else comments, if you have that option enabled on Facebook as an example. If there is something you have to offer, or if there is a poor blogger who doesn’t get many comments (me), it can be worthwhile to spend the time.

Blog Reading
One small thing I’ve started doing is not checking my RSS feed everyday, and not clicking on new posts unless there are at least two or three for that blog. This seems to be more efficient. And of course, only subscribing to blogs that are beneficial, allowing for a couple that are just entertainment.

Tips
Tim Challies gives some helpful tips in Get Rid of These 6 Things.

I have also toyed with the idea of putting articles I want to read in Save To Pocket instead of just clicking on them as they appear when I first come across them. Then when I go to read them later on, I may be less likely to want to spend the time on all of them and be a little more selective. If you like this idea, here is an article related to that:
9 Tools To Save What You Read On The Web For Later
Be careful of those suggestions on the right. By the way, I used Evernote–mentioned in the article–for collecting items for this blog post, and these are also productivity tools.

The Secret
Now, the secret to all of this is to pray that you will want to grow closer to God by reading the good stuff rather than doing less the edifying reading on the Web. All of us believers want more of God, I would hope, and we can do all of the little tricks we want, but we need to want God Himself so much more that the other things pale in comparison. See Want, Ask, Seek, Wait, Find for a Proverbs model of this. Be accountable to God, as we should for everything (1 Corinthians 10:31). Realize you live with and before him and he in you, all of the time. This is a good thing, because his grace is always available, whether it’s for strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), self discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) or forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

Quotes
From a couple of good authors to read:

The Scripture reproacheth the vanity and folly of the minds of men, in that “they spend their money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which profiteth not.” They engage the vigour of their spirits about perishing things, when they have durable substance and riches proposed unto them.

–John Owen, The Glory of Christ

Rule 6. Get much of heaven into your heart. Spiritual things satisfy; the more of heaven is in us, the less earth will content us. He that hath once tasted the love of God, (Ps. 63:5) his thirst is much quenched towards sublunary things; the joys of God’s Spirit are heart-filling and heart-cheering joys; he that hath these, hath heaven begun in him, and shall not we be content to be in heaven? O get a sublime heart, “seek those things which are above.” (Col. 3:1) Fly aloft in your affections, thirst after the graces and comforts of the Spirit; the eagle that flies above in the air, fears not the stinging of the serpent; the serpent creeps on his belly, and stings only such creatures as go upon the earth.

–Thomas Watson, The Art of Divine Contentment

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

This has been brewing a long time. I looked back at my second blog and realized I’ve been working on this for over two years. I was surprised. Will I ever master this beast called The Internet?

Do you have any thoughts to pass on?

Extras
This post is probably too long, but I wanted to include these extra items that I collected that you can look into if you want to spend even more time on the internet reading this post and the others linked below.

Productivity

Also see:

Watching Sports
Aside from the internet is I tend to combine my love of watching NFL football with my reading. Football on the TV, low volume, and a book in hand. I used to read during commercials. I developed the skill of remembering where I am in the book where I left off. Now with a TiVo DVR, I pause for 20-30 minutes, read, then watch the game skipping through the commercials, and even skipping between plays. The 30 second skip button works well most of the time for US football. As far as soccer, I’m afraid you just have to watch the whole thing other than halftime. Or just watch the highlights afterwards so that you can see the one or two goals that were scored. For sports fans, whatever the sport, you can at least read during commercials if it’s lighter fare.

Thank you
Thanks to David Black for mentioning this post.

Repost: Important Revelations (1 of 2)

As I’m taking a bit of a respite from blogging, I remembered that I can do what other slackers do and just repost stuff I’ve written before. How easy is that?

This one is serious though. I feel it’s the most important thing God has shown me and that I’ve posted in a long time.

When we’re convicted of sin, or spoken to by God, or our eyes are opened to something in Scripture, we can’t expect it to have the same impact on others as it has had on us. It’s very frustrating to read authors who feel that everybody has the same weaknesses. People are on different timetables and have different strengths and weaknesses. But aside from that, the sin of murmuring, as Thomas Watson puts it, is something I see a lot of that goes largely unnoticed, including myself of course, until recently. I mean noticed, not taken care of. That will come. But I’ve made progress already. The post is recent, from July 2.

——————

Murmuring

This is a sin I haven’t really been aware of much lately. It isn’t talked about often. Thomas Watson writes about this in The Art of Divine Contentment. I’ve been making an effort to think more positively, or less negatively, but when he uses the word murmur and explains it like he does, it’s very convicting. I can see how this is subtly insidious, and the devil would love to see a lot of it, without our ever really realizing it as long as it stays under the radar, so to speak. I can also see how profitable this would be if it could be reduced by working on it with God’s grace.

Thou that art a murmurer art in the account of God as a witch, a sorcerer, as one that deals with the devil: this is a sin of the first magnitude. Murmuring oft ends in cursing: Micah’s mother fell to cursing when the talents of silver were taken away, (Judges 17:2) so doth the murmurer when a part of his estate is taken away. Our murmuring is the devil’s music; this is that sin which God cannot bear: “how long shall I bear with this evil congregation which murmur against me?” (Num. 14:27) It is a sin which whets the sword against a people: it is a land-destroying sin; “neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” (1 Cor. 10:10) It is a ripening sin this; without mercy it will hasten England’s funerals. O then how excellent is , which prevents this sin! To be contented, and yet murmur is a : a contented Christian doth acquiesce in his present condition, and doth not murmur, but admire. Herein appears the excellency of contentation; it is a spiritual antidote against sin.

I think that letting this happen is one way that nice young people can become cranky old people. Not cranky like Carl Trueman, but truly mean and destructively negative people. But remember not to murmur about them. Some are in a lot of pain in one way or another, have systems in their brain or hormones that are out of whack, or who knows what. And some people have a heart of gold under that protective veneer.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
Philippians 2:14 NIV

Also see (because people murmur a lot about politics and whatnot):
The Contemporary Calvinist: Christians Have a Choice to Make: God or Country?

Being content
In rhetoric, a solecism is defined as an offense against the rules of grammar by the use of words in a wrong construction; false syntax.

I would like advice on Puritan authors

I’ve been having a bit of a hard time with Puritan authors.

I’ll start here: I read through Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (oh there’s that dirty word) and loved it. I wanted to move on to the Puritans. Thomas Watson’s book on Romans 8:28 was very good. Then I read Flavel’s book on providence, and it was a lot of lists and various providences. It was rather tedious and I can’t say I learned a lot except he had an incredible description of prayer as related to providence. Then I read The Art of Divine Contentment by Watson, and it was life changing as far as not murmuring, but it took a while to get there, along with a lot of lists. I looked at Burroughs’ book on contentment and saw numbers on almost every page. It must have been the writing style back then. It’s not very personal, but helps categorize things.

So I tried Edwards, thinking that surely I would like him. I chose Religious (that word again) Affections, but he was writing apologetics for something I already very much believe in and am aware of because of what God has done in me. He also had a lot of lists, but not all numbered.

So then I get to Owen’s The Glory of Christ, and I came home. Finally! Maybe it’s partly the subject matter that I like. When reading it, instead of lists, he has four subjects on beholding the glory of Christ. I couldn’t wait to read what each of them was. I can’t wait to read how we behold the glory of Christ in each way. This has such an impact that it has increased my spiritual zeal, which had gone down just a little in the last few months. I don’t see why people find him hard to read. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant. There are theologians that I do find very hard to read. I’m not that smart er nothin’. I wouldn’t want an abridged version.

So given all of that, could you recommend other Puritan preachers and authors for me to read? I’m thinking ahead because I’m only part way through Owen’s book. I was thinking of trying Edwards again with The Excellency of Christ. As far as all of the rest, I don’t have a feel for them yet. I don’t need “start out with so and so because he’s easier to read.” Maybe Owen is where I should stay for a while and alternate with modern authors that I know I like. (Horton, Ferguson, Stott, Packer and many more)

Let me know what you think. There are so many Puritan authors that I’m completely unfamiliar with. Maybe this post will help others too.

John Owen

Murmuring

Murmuring–a half-suppressed or muttered complaint, which may be synonymous with grumbling–is a sin that isn’t mentioned often. Thomas Watson writes about this in The Art of Divine Contentment. I’ve been making an effort to think more positively, or less negatively, but when he uses the word murmur and explains it like he does, it’s very convicting. I can see how this is subtly insidious, and the devil would love to see a lot of it, without our ever really realizing it. I can see how profitable this would be if it could be reduced by working on it with God’s grace.

You that are a murmurer are in the [same] account of [or ‘to’] God as a witch, a sorcerer, as one that deals with the devil: this is a sin of the first magnitude. Murmuring often ends in cursing: Micah’s mother fell to cursing when the talents of silver were taken away, (Jude 17:2) so does the murmurer when a part of his estate is taken away. Our murmuring is the devil’s music; this is that sin which God cannot bear: “how long shall I bear with this evil congregation which murmur against me?” (Num. 14:7) It is a sin which whets the sword against a people: it is a land-destroying sin; “neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” (1 Cor. 10:10) It is a ripening sin this; without mercy it will hasten England’s funerals. O then how excellent is , which prevents this sin! To be contented, and yet murmur is a : a contented Christian does acquiesce in his present condition, and does not murmur, but admire. Herein appears the excellency of contentation; it is a spiritual antidote against sin.

I attempted to slightly simplify the English.

I think that letting this fester is one way that nice young people can become cranky old people. Not cranky like Carl Trueman, but truly mean and destructively negative people.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
Philippians 2:14 NIV

Also see: Contentment | Scripture Zealot blog

Being content
something deviating from the proper, normal, or accepted order

Studying Will Wear You Out

Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
Ecclesiastes 12:12

I like what John Gill has to say about this intriguing verse.

of making many books there is no end; many books, it seems, were written in Solomon’s time; there was the same itch of writing as now, it may be; but what was written was not to be mentioned with the sacred writings, were comparatively useless and worthless. Or the sense is, should Solomon, or any other, write ever so many volumes, it would be quite needless; and there would be no end of writing, for these would not give satisfaction and contentment; and which yet was to be had in the word of God; and therefore that should be closely attended to: though this may be understood, not only of making or composing books, but of getting them, as Aben Ezra; of purchasing them, and so making them a man’s own. A man may lay out his money, and fill his library with books, and be very little the better for them; what one writer affirms, another denies; what one seems to have proved clearly, another rises up and points out his errors and mistakes; and this occasions replies and rejoinders, so that there is no end of these things, and scarce any profit by them; which, without so much trouble, may be found in the writings of wise men, inspired by God, and in which we should rest contented;

and much study is a weariness of the flesh; the study of languages, and of each of the arts and sciences, and of various subjects in philosophy and divinity, particularly in writing books on any of these subjects; which study is as fatiguing to the body, and brings as much weariness on it, as any manual and mechanic operation; it dries up the moisture of the body, consumes the spirits, and gradually and insensibly impairs health, and brings on weakness, as well as weariness. Some render it, “much reading”, as Jarchi, and so Mr. Broughton; and Aben Ezra observes, that the word in the Arabic language so signifies: the Arabic word “lahag” signifies to desire anything greedily, or to be greedily given and addicted to anything (m); and so may denote such kind of reading here, or such a person who is “helluo”, a glutton at books, as Cato is said to be. And now reading books with such eagerness, and with constancy, is very wearisome, and is to little advantage; whereas reading the Scripture cheers and refreshes the mind, and is profitable and edifying. Gussetius interprets it of much speaking, long orations, which make weary.

(m) Vid. Castell. Lexic. col. 1874. who gives an instance of the use of this word in, the following sentence; ולהג “he that reads with mouth, but his heart is not with it”; and so Kimchi, in Sepher Shotash, fol. 74. fol. 2. explains the word here, “learning without understanding”.

–John Gill, in his commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:12 (emphasis is his)

~Jeff

“Plaque” Verses

The most dangerous passages in the Bible are the familiar ones, because we do not really listen to them. The sharp stone of God’s Word, smoothed down by the river of time, no longer cuts. Instead of being challenged by hard thought or hard choices, we lean back and savour pretty words. No in the Gospels is more exposed to this familiarity, that contentment, than the beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel. Nine beatitudes, nine spiritual bonbons. No sooner is “Blessed are the poor…” intoned than eyes become glassy or moist, the heart is strangely warmed, and no one notices that Jesus the revolutionary is heaving a verbal grenade into our homiletic garden.

–John P. Meir

Jeremiah 23:29
“Isn’t my word like fire or like a hammer that shatters a rock?” asks the Lord.

 

a selection or extract from a book

Lament

One of the most prominent themes in the Psalms is lament.

–Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on The Psalms, pg. 111

One of the most common themes in many contemporary worship gatherings is–HAPPY.

Eugene Peterson thus comments that the Psalms are where Christians have always learned to pray–till our age!

–John Goldingay, Psalms 1-41, pg. 22

The church is missing one of its richest experiences if it ignores the Book of Psalms or relegates it to a routine reading in a service without any explanation.

–Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on The Psalms, pg. 29

But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to us as speaking to God, and laying open all their inmost thoughts and affections, call, or rather draw, each of us to the examination of himself in particular, in order that none of the many infirmities to which we are subject, and of the many vices with which we abound, may remain concealed. It is certainly a rare and singular advantage, when all lurking places are discovered, and the heart is brought into the light, purged from that most baneful infection, hypocrisy

–John Calvin, Commentary on the Book Psalms pg. xxxvii

It seems that many would rather be concealed and unrevealed, with their innermost undiscovered, clothed in a mask of contentment.

My attempt at poetry which I’ll leave unexposited.

Look for a review of the commentary by Ross very soon.

Photo © Jeff at Scripture Zealot

To Know God

What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set for ourselves in life? To know God. What is ‘eternal life’ that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. ‘This is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ (John 17:3). What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, more delight and contentment than anything else? Knowledge of God. ‘Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me’ (Jer. 9:23f.).

In these few sentences we have said a great deal. Our point is one to which every Christian heart will warm, though the person whose religion is merely formal will not be moved by it. (And by this very fact his unregenerate state may be known.)

For what higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God?

–J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Chapter 3–page numbers vary in different editions)

This certainly is a great deal! And yet it’s so simple. We find God in the Bible and through His works of the Holy Spirit, which always agree with the Bible. No amount of programs or fancy explanations can do the work of the Cross and the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 1:17-18) And nothing outside of the Bible will help us know God. Those who have no interest in the Bible really have no interest in God, which right now grieves me more than you can know.

God Will Rebuild Quadriplegics

Quite a statement. And strangely enough, it comes from Joni Eareckson Tada (MP3 and transcript), who is still a quadriplegic, and isn’t talking about her future. What is she talking about?

How about Jesus in Matthew 13:15: “For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes–so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.'”

Joni Eareckson Tada is talking about heart and soul. About receiving God’s joy, happiness and contentment.

Jesus is talking about spiritual healing–giving us eternal life, which is knowing God and Jesus Christ (John 17:3), and being at peace with God by His forgiveness through believing in His death and resurrection, even though we’re sinners and deserve His wrath, much less being in His presence.

Certainly God heals physically all the time. When on earth Jesus healed physically nearly everywhere He went. These were called signs and wonders to point us to His authority to forgive our sins and heal us spiritually, forever.

Many have the priorities backwards. How much more important it is for Joni Eareckson Tada to be healed spiritually, as great as it would be for her to be healed physically, whether miraculously from God or miraculously through medical science. Hopefully it will happen.

Because of living with mental health difficulties, chronic fatigue and chronic pain, I can especially understand how my mind and body are “wasting away” at an accelerated rate but I’m “being renewed day by day”, as we all are. (2 Corinthians 4:16 TNIV)

I pray for physical and ‘mental’ healing, but spend so much more time praying for all of the ways I can be healed spiritually. That’s something that could be spent all day, every day on. This is something God is doing at, I know, a much more accelerated rate than if I didn’t suffer from these things. I’m not yet ready to call it a gift, as I’ve read some older and mature suffering Christians do, but I can call it an opportunity. I pray that someday I will be mature enough and that God’s joy will outweigh the suffering so much that I can call it a gift. When it’s at its worst, it’s difficult to think of it positively at all, although I thank God for what He’ll do through it (Romans 8:28-29; James 1:2-8).

Those who concentrate on and promise physical healing, possibly thwarting God’s will, especially if you give them money, should be mocked, discredited and excommunicated. They are deluded and have no business preaching and teaching because they don’t know the first things about what Jesus is about. They should be sent to an island with only the Bible, for their own good, and not let out. It’s what people desperately want, understandably, but these heretics don’t show them the value of spiritual healing. And people in their denominations or circles don’t speak out against them enough. Giving “seed money” to be healed or having to speak in tongues in order to be saved isn’t seen as a bad thing in some of these circles either.

Real life is spiritual. Let’s keep our eyes on it and want it more than anything.

Colossians 3:1-3 ESV
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  2  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  3  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 ISV
Tell those who are rich in this age not to be arrogant and not to place their confidence in anything as uncertain as riches. Instead, let them place their confidence in God, who lavishly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good actions, to be generous, and to share. 19 By doing this they store up a treasure for themselves that is a good foundation for the future, so that they can keep their hold on the life that is real.

Puritan E-Books?

Does anyone have a source for good Puritan e-books or have any recommendations for good Puritan books that are free online–legally of course? I bought a Nokia 770 for $38 on eBay. It can read PDF and all the standard generic e-book formats. (No Kindle, iPhone apps, Droid etc.) I downloaded The Pursuit of God by Tozier (not a Puritan), my favorite Christian living book ever in e-book format and it’s great. I found The Art of Divine Contentment and a few others by Watson and also Religious Affections and others by Edwards* in PDF format. I would like to know about other recommendations you would have. I’d especially like an e-book format because I love the reader on this device but PDF is OK too.

If Puritan were a denomination that’s what I’d be.

*I realize he’s a second generation Puritan.

Worry

Since my back surgery nearly three months ago, my faith has really been tested. For a few weeks after surgery I couldn’t trust God for anything. I was worrying about everything. It was getting out of control. No matter what anxiety disorders I have been diagnosed with (two), I’m still responsible for sin and that’s what worry is.

While reading the book Unburdened: The Secret to Letting God Carry the Things That Weigh You Down by Chris Tiegreen, I made a commitment to work on worrying less. This means I have to both strive to worry less and ask God to strengthen me so I can trust him more. I need to pray more in general and go to God right away when worrisome thoughts come up. Because of our human nature, most of us will have a tendency to worry at least a little and most of us can’t fix the problem on our own. I suppose that means I need to realize how weak and poor spiritually I am too.

Since then I’ve improved a little. It’s been tested a few times and I didn’t do very well, but better than if I wouldn’t have made the commitment. This is what I’d expect. It may be a lifelong struggle but there is enough room for improvement that I hope I can improve all the time in the large scheme of things.

In the book, Chris Tiegreen writes about not just not worrying but replacing thoughts with things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1-3; Philippians 4:8). This partial prayer below reminded me of that and everything related to the commitment. (See Puritan Prayers) I’ve included links to two other blog posts related to worry and anxiety below.

Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and He must become to me more than vile lust had been; that His sweetness, power, life may be there. Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin, but must not claim it apart from Himself.

–Contentment from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett

Also see:

Do you have a spiritual barometer?

Do you have anything to gauge where you’re at spiritually? I’m talking about how willing your are to give it all up to God and how aligned you are to doing God’s will on a time line of a few weeks to a few months.

For me it’s reading Tozer’s The Pursuit of God. When I first read this short but challenging book, I just couldn’t get with the program. He’s talking about following hard after God, contentment–even with nothing, listening to and obeying God, humility etc. The second time I read it I had gone through a lot in my life and was so beaten down I was willing to give it all up. Since then I’ve wavered slightly, then got back with it, then realized I hadn’t given it up as much as I thought, found a lot more sin and had to go further to ‘get with the program’ again.

Trusting God by Jerry Bridges was a good help for me when I was afraid and needed to go farther.

On a daily basis I have indicators for if I’m angry, depressed, anxious etc. which affect my relationship with God but I’m interested to see if you have longer term indicators.

I have the prayers from the book printed out and go over those now and then which remind me of what’s written in the book. They are at the end of each chapter. I copied and pasted them from this site and printed them out.