Saturday, June 13, 2015

Increasing spiritual focus: a postscript

There may be further help from a precept, promise and prayer related to distraction.

"attend upon the Lord without distraction" 1 Corinthians 7:35

Precept: Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life"

Promise: Proverbs 16:1, 3 "The preparation of the heart in from the Lord...commit thy ways to him, and thy thoughts shall be established" 

Prayer: Psalm 86:11 "unite my heart to fear thy name"

Friday, June 12, 2015

Increasing your focus - there's an app for that

Now available on all smart phone platforms: iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry. No install necessary. The app eliminates distractions, allowing you to focus on the important task in hand...It's called the off/flight mode button...or else use the settings to drastically control the type of notifications that come through.

Seriously, distraction is a major problem when we have constant interruptions from our devices. It's not simply the cause of many accidents - on a more everyday level constant alerts train our mind to expect distraction and therefore to have weaker capacity to focus.

Spiritually this is a real issue. Distracted spiritual living is every bit as dangerous as distracted driving. We can switch off completely on sabbath, at personal devotions, family worship and hopefully even at family meal times. Yet if we are trained to expect constantly something to seek our attention - our ability to focus, read and think deeply, meditate, pray will all be diminished. Memorisation and storing in the long term memory are also impacted. It is likely that we become less self-reflective.

The great danger is that we're losing a focus upon our eternal home not just our immediate environment. We need to create more times when we disconnect from such distractions in order to focus more on what is important.

Perhaps the verse we need to memorise most is 1 Corinthians 7:35 "that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction". Richard Steele wrote a whole book "A Remedy for Wandering Thoughts in the Worship of God" using this verse as a launchpad. This book may be more needed now than in any age. Another verse would be: "O God, my heart is fixed" (Psalm 108:1 see also Psalm 57:7). "Consider Him" (Hebrews 12:3).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

a longer look at 1 Corinthians 11

#10 in the top ten most accessed posts on this blog is a post Long hair and feminity. A new article on Long hair for women and short hair for men! explores this issue in even greater depth and hopefully will be read and found helpful by far greater numbers. 
Does Scripture speak on the issue of hair length? That is the question. If the Bible is silent or non-committal on the subject, then we may be so too. But if God’s Word has spoken on the matter, then we must contend earnestly for this part of the Christian faith, along with every other part of revealed religion.
What did Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 11? How important is this issue? Does the Church have any responsibility in this area or is it just a matter of individual conscience? Some people that think head covering is a very clear in this passage don't think hair length has the same importance. They don't think that much should be made of the issue. But is this Paul's approach? 

five stones

Notes excerpted from a sermon by Rev William Maclean.

Psalm 9:13-14

The title of Psalm 9 means 'the death of the champion'. It is thought by some to have been composed by David to celebrate his defeat of Goliath, the champion of the Philistines.

David had five stones in his scrip (pouch) going out to meet Goliath. The New Testament David faced Satan and in doing so, had these five stones from His Father: the (1) love, (2) oath, (3) promise, (4) anointing and (5) commandment of the Father.

(1) Love of the Father: 'This is my beloved Son'. 
(2) Oath: 'Of the order of Melchisedec, thou art a priest for ever'. 
(3) Promise: 'behold my servant whom I uphold '. 
(4) Anointed by the Father in the human nature with the Holy Spirit 'without measure'. 
(5) Commandment: 'This commandment I have received from my Father'.

The Lord's people also have five stones out of the brook of the covenant. These are for going forward whatever their distress or however they may be tried and tempted in connection with their duties. They may have been professing Him for thirty or forty or fifty years. They had to eat bitter herbs (with the Passover) and the Lord's people will get their own bitter herbs in way or another. We can say that there are five stones they can pick up from the scrip of their profession: 

(1) 'Fear thou not for I am with thee'. 
(2) 'Be not dismayed for I am thy God'. 
(3) 'I will strengthen thee'. 
(4) 'I will help thee'. 
(5) 'Yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness' .

Rev Wm Maclean, Gisborne communion Morning Thursday 11 April 1968