Three remedies for a bad temper
Which do you think is best?
Julius Caesar was troubled with a bad temper and we read of him repeating the Roman alphabet backwards when he felt his temper rising.
Matthew Henry gives an instance of a married couple who were both [given to extreme feelings], but happily lived together because they observed the rule never to be angry at the same time.
“JESUS…he shall save his people from their sins.”
“He is able to save to the uttermost.”
“From all your filthiness will I cleanse you.”
From the magazine of The Faith Mission, Bright Words, July 1892.
By SANDY ROGER
Over the years I have become much more cautious about saying to people “I’ll pray for you”. I came to the realisation one day that so often it was merely a glib promise and once the conversation had passed, the intention also evaporated. Instead I now tend to say, “I will pray for you as often as I remember you”. That leaves the Holy Spirit free to bring people and events to mind at times which are in line with His purposes. Adapting this method has produced some remarkable results. It is very encouraging to meet up with or contact people for whom you have become particularly burdened only to discover that just at the time you strongly felt led to bring them to the Lord in prayer was when they were in great need of prayer support.
But side by side with this there has also developed the habit of creating a prayer list. The human memory is very unreliable at times and with the best intentions in the world it is impossible to carry around with us all the time everything that needs to be brought to God in prayer. There are great advantages in having a list to which you can regularly refer.
It is impossible for any one person to carry a prayer burden for every eventuality in the world. There is only one Person all-powerful and all-knowing who is able to carry the whole of humanity in His heart. But that does not mean we cannot have a share through prayer in what God is doing.
That is where my prayer list comes in handy. It is just a little notebook in which I jot down things that I want to remember regularly before the Lord; and over the years it has proved a very valuable tool.
It ensures that the things God has laid on my heart have a prior call on my praying. Well aware that I cannot pray for everyone and about everything, I trust the Lord to put into my mind the things that should take up my attention in the place of prayer. As situations change then so too does the priorities.
Tracking Answers to Prayer
It is always a great help to go back to the lists, perhaps weeks or months after they have ceased to be a prayer priority, and discover how the Lord has answered. I find that a great incentive to keep on praying, reasoning that if He has granted these requests then He will do the same for the things that are my current concern. There is nothing like concrete answers to prayer for encouraging you to pray all the more.
Specific and Structured
Like all Christians my mind sometimes wanders when I am praying. When that starts to happen then my praying becomes rather haphazard and lacking in focus. Having a list is a great antidote to that happening. The sheer discipline of working through a regular listing of concerns means that I can concentrate better and focus my prayers like a laser on the thing in hand. I have also discovered that the more specific I am in prayer the more easily I recognise the answers. Prayer is both asking and receiving, and the more definite we are in our asking the more definite God seems in His answering.
Discipline, Duty and Delight
When we come before the Lord in prayer the awareness of His felt presence is not always experienced by us. That does not mean He is not there. It is far more likely that we will fail to keep our regular rendezvous with Him than that He will break the appointment. There is a cost and a discipline involved in praying regularly for others and we must not expect always to be on cloud nine. I find it helpful to realise my responsibility to pray for others by remembering that if I fail in this area there may be no one else to bring that person before the Lord that day.
A friend of mine talks about this kind of praying as dynamic flexibility. It is more than merely working through a list and feeling that you have done your duty. It is a waiting on God in order to be swept up into His purposes. I read recently of Norman Grubb, the first General Secretary of WEC, saying at the start of every new day, “Good morning, God! What are you doing today? I want to be part of it. May I?” Surely there is nowhere that we demonstrate we are co-workers together with God (2 Corinthians 6:1) more than when we are on our knees before Him on behalf of others?
Dr Sandy Roger is a former principal of the Faith Mission Bible College, Edinburgh. He is presently minister of a church in Coatbridge.
This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine January/February 2009
By Dave Wilson
Checking out some online archives of DJ Online News*, I came upon a reflective Christmas message from Dave Wilson that encapsulated my current thinking. Though written in 2003 its message is still relevant. — Ed.
About this time every December, the busyness of the season—holiday parties, shopping lists, mailing of Christmas cards or letters, tight work deadlines — begins competing with my heart’s desire to focus on what Christmas is really about. I want to make sure that Jesus’ name is lifted high, but invariably just dealing with the “tyranny of the urgent” is more the norm.
So how can you and I purposefully overcome our culture’s frantic pace and reclaim this Christmas for the King?
Here’s what the Lord has impressed on me:
- I need to spend more time praying together with my wife for others.
- I need to say “no” to at least as many “good” activities this holiday season as I say “yes” to — without feeling guilty.
- I shouldn’t wait until Christmas morning to read through and ponder the Christmas story.
- I need to go to bed before the 10 o’clock news.
- I need to rely on the Lord to increase my awareness of those around me who are hurting and in need, and seek to tangibly reflect Christ’s love as he directs.
Instead of waiting until January 1st to make our New Year’s resolutions, would you join me in committing — with the Lord’s help — to making this Christmas more about him than it is about us?
May Christ’s richest blessings flow into and out of your lives as you continue to grow in your daily walk with him!
* DJ Online News is distributed freely each month by www.discipleshipjournal.com. Discipleship Journal is a publication of The Navigators.
This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine November/December 2007
THE CHRISTMAS VERSION of First Corinthians chapter 13
IF I DECORATE my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shining balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
IF I SLAVE AWAY in the kitchen, baking, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
IF I WORK at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
IF I DECORATE the spruce with shimmering angels and crystal snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
LOVE stops the cooking to hug the child.
LOVE sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
LOVE is kind, though harried and tired.
LOVE doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
LOVE doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
LOVE doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
LOVE never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But the gift of LOVE will endure.
This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in Life Indeed November/December 2004
Stressed over Christmas? I recently heard of a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, and hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she and the kids finally made it to the lift.
She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season. Overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, buy that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, etc.
Finally, the lift doors opened and there was already a crowd in there. She pushed her way in and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed she couldn’t take it anymore and stated, ‘Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot.’
From the back of the lift, everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond: “Don’t worry, we already crucified him.”
For the rest of the trip down the lift it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
Don’t forget this year to keep the One who started this “whole Christmas thing” in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be. – Author Unknown
I first saw this article, whose author is unknown, on I Lift my Eyes Ministries. If you enjoyed this post, you will also enjoy ILME’s Online E-zine for this month. There you will find original articles, and the archives, for Whatever is Pure here.This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in Life Indeed November/December 2004