New Leaves: Entertainment
I will set nothing wicked before my eyes. Psalm 101:3
Last year, a Michigan dad took his two stepsons to Burger King. A TV was mounted to the wall, and the older son blurted out, “Don’t look up at the TV.” The screen was filled with a lurid R-rated sex scene. Some of the customers were mesmerized by the action, and because employees were slow to change the channel, the man walked over and turned off the television. Burger King apologized when the man filed a police report, but he understandably worries that the images will torment his sons.
Perhaps we need to turn off the television too—the one in our own home. Our culture has a way of luring us into watching people in more obscene, profane, violent, and immoral activities than any that we’d actually allow into our house. Not all entertainment is bad, but most entertainment is getting worse.
Consider turning over a new leaf this year. Be more selective in what you watch. Be quicker to turn off shows that are inappropriate and seek programming that will help you and others make wiser turning points in life.
We must not be so naïve as to assume that all entertainment is spiritually neutral and safe, as though we could immerse our minds in everything the world offers and remain spiritually unscathed. John MacArthur
The battle for your Christian life is in your mind. Psalm 101 3
The Christian life is like a long walk that begins at salvation and ends in heaven, and along the way are obstacles to overcome and dangers to avoid. One such hazard is the spiritual landmine of pride. It is like an explosive device that’s been buried in the ground to cause great physical harm—pride may lie hidden and unrecognized in our heart, causing great spiritual damage in both our life and our relationship with the Lord.
Our enemy Satan lays spiritual landmines in our path to trip us up, and one of his most effective ones is pride. Therefore, it’s imperative that we learn to detect it quickly in order to guard against sin. Often we are slow to see and admit that we have a problem with pride, because it tends to hide behind feelings of inadequacy.
Whatever the form, pride is all about self. It may be displayed with loud self-promotion or quiet self-reflection, but the root is the same. It’s a vain attempt to fill an area of personal emptiness. But God alone can fill that void, and the only way to come to Him is in humility.
Proverbs 16:5 says, “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord.” That’s why we cannot serve Him while clinging to our own self-importance. When God is given second place in our life, the work of the Holy Spirit is hindered. Then we make foolish mistakes because we are focused not on Him but on ourselves.
The key to overcoming pride is to fix our eyes on God and the depth of His character. He alone is worthy of all exaltation.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
The gift spoken of in the previous verse is based on a transfer of authority from God, and we are exhorted to “stir up” that gift (2 Timothy 1:6) because God did not give us a “spirit of fear.” The word fear (deilia) stresses timidity or cowardice, not terror. The gift does not function well if we are too timid to use it.
The gift referred to is not power. That spiritual gift comes with dunamis—the innate ability to do the gift. Whatever the Holy Spirit has gifted us with upon our entrance into the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:11), that gift comes with the power necessary to implement and use that gift.
The gift also comes with love. Again, love is not the gift. It is only part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that comes with the gift. Were it not for the reflection in us of the unilateral and sacrificial love of our Redeemer, these supernatural gifts could well be misused, distorted, and abused for personal glory. Diotrephes misused his gift, failing to use the spirit of love (3 John 1:9).
Sophronismos (sound mind) is a unique Greek word that is a combination of the verbs “to save” and “to control.” Its basic meaning would be “safe control” or “wholesome control”— perhaps even “control that saves”—the perfect combination of abilities that empower the gift, the love that keeps the gift focused on others, and the “safety controls” to keep it from doing damage unwittingly.
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). HMM III
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
To think God’s thoughts requires much prayer. If you do not pray much, you are not thinking God’s thoughts. If you do not read your Bible much and often and reverently, you are not thinking God’s thoughts….
There also has to be a lot of meditation. We ought to learn to live in our Bibles. Get one with print big enough to read so it does not punish your eyes. Look around until you find a good one, and then learn to love it. Begin with the Gospel of John, then read the Psalms. Isaiah is another great book to help you and lift you. When you feel you want to do it, go on to Romans and Hebrews and some of the deeper theological books. But get into the Bible. Do not just read the little passages you like, but in the course of a year or two see that you read it through. Your thoughts will one day come up before God’s judgment. We are responsible for our premeditative thoughts. They make our mind a temple where God can dwell with pleasure, or they make our mind a stable where Christ is angry, ties a rope and drives out the cattle. It is all up to us. RRR042
Lord, help us to lead Your people wisely, despite the barrage of outside influences we face every day. Amen.
See that ye hasten the matter,—2 Chronicles 24:5.
And grant me, Lord, to do,
With ready heart and willing,
Whatever Thou shalt command,
My calling here fulfilling;
And do it when I ought,
With all my strength, and bless
The work I thus have wrought,
For Thou must give success.
No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow, It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us, Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing; our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God. If there be lying; before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.
She constantly yielded to that kind of selfishness, which makes the writing, or not writing, a letter depend upon the inclination of the moment.
Sarah W. Stephen.
“For the Lord will not cast off for ever.” Lam. 3:31
He may cast away for a season, but not for ever.
A woman may leave off her ornaments for a few days, but she will not forget them, nor throw them upon the dunghill. It is not like the Lord to cast off those whom He loves: for, “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” Some talk of our being in grace and out of it, as if we were like rabbits that run in and out of their burrows: but, indeed, it is not so. The Lord’s love is a far more serious and abiding matter than this.
He chose us from eternity, and He will love us throughout eternity. He loved us so as to die for us, and we may therefore be sure that His love will never die. His honor is so wrapped up in the salvation of the believer, that He can no more cast him off than He can cast off His own robes of office as King of glory. No, no! The Lord Jesus, as a Head, never casts off His members; as a Husband, He never casts off His bride.
Did you think you were cast off? Why did you think so evil of the Lord who has betrothed you to Himself? Cast off such thoughts, and never let them lodge in your soul again. “The Lord hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Rom. 11:2). “He hateth putting away” (Mal. 2:16).