Tips in Fighting the Good Fight

The following tips were taken from a recent message delivered by one of my elders. I modified the language a little for the purposes of this post.

In it, he pointed out that in order to keep God centered in our lives we have to consistently resist the temptation of loving other things more than we love God.

So let’s look at some practical ways to do this.

  1. Eliminate things and habits that constantly pull you away from seeing the Lord as your ultimate treasure. This is best done while replacing them with things that reinforce a focus on God. (like the next item)
  2. Set time for regular, daily prayer.
  3. Practice regular Worship keeping. Having dedicated worship time with the faithful is very edifying. It is good to have time for spiritual rest and reflection.
  4. Confess your idols to God and ask Him to reshape your loves toward Him.

If you’d like to hear more of this message and get it in its original context, check out that full recorded message at faithbaptistorlando.com.

On My Name

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


I go by One_Monk on here and I have called it a sort of “pen name” but that is about as far as I have gone in explaining it.

You may be thinking right now, “really? You’re going to write an entire article on this?”

That is exactly what I am going to do!

I could have as easily called this article “On Ascetics” as it is for ascetic reasons I picked the name that I did, but not nearly as many people are familiar with that topic. So, I’m going to fixate on my chosen online pen name and knock on my angle on ascetics as well as describe my name in one go!

Let’s start the explanation.

One_Monk

“One” should be fairly straight-forward here as it is simply counting the individual that is me. I am singular. The name is not shared. I am one lone monk.

Monk. These days in the US all sorts of images come to mind. From my experiences, I first came into contact with Roman Catholic monks and therefore these are the first images I think of but they are not the only as I have had many students in my past who would admit that they first thought of Buddhist monks.

However, I would not want to emulate either one. So, why would I chose “monk” as part of my name?

In Christian monasticism, it has not always been the same. The earliest monks or ascetics (as they were also called) would separate themselves from the world in order to dedicate themselves fully to the study of God’s Word and to prayer and to meditation. They often did this alone in the wilderness but in time communities came to be formed and it also became a practice in the early Christian church that Church leaders would come out of these ascetics. In other words, they didn’t stay in isolation forever – unlike many of the later and even modern ones.

I have found the most redeeming value in the practices of these earliest monks/ascetics over any of the others. Even so, that does not mean I am standing here today agreeing with everything any of them ever said or did that we have recorded.

One_Monk was created with these early monks in mind and the ideal I aim to embody is to be separate from the ways of the world but to fully recognize that I am but one individual. I am to be separate from the world but not isolated from it. I am but one individual of an entire humanity. If I lock myself away, how can I be salt and light unto the rest?

I do not think we should be afraid of terms like “monk” or “ascetic” but should reclaim them. In fact, we are all trying to aim for a particular asceticism in our lives as Christians as we aim to simplify our lives from the things that distract us from Him. This means making a conscious effort to abstain from various things of this world and activities.

Now, let’s get a few other things clear.

Many of the ascetics did take their lives to a point of extreme denial as you would typically find in other ascetic life-styles in other religions. This includes abstaining from sex. I can certainly agree with them in doing so (to a point) but the Christian ascetics often took it to their graves – Not something I agree with!

They would take personal vows of chastity to set themselves aside for service to Christ. This was an individual choice and not all of them did this (most did though). In addition, I can remember some that took such a vow for a time but later after coming out of their isolation, renounced it upon marrying. In other words, not all of these early ascetics followed the same pattern.

I may not be married as of this writing but I would like to think that one of these days I will be and start my own family. I certainly do not take things to the extent that some of the earliest Christian ascetics did.

Several ascetics I have read about also took on extreme diets. Also, not something I do as I am currently eating pizza as I write this. Even so, I am conscious about my diet and between my own health concerns and what I have found is best for my overall health, I do abstain from sodas, many other sweets, pastas, citrus, and a few other things. (Note: Please do not take this as any sort of directive from me as to what you should stay away from. For example, I stay away from citrus because of inflammatory responses my body gives me when I consume any citrus)

I do very much think we should live simplified life styles – especially as Christians. Getting swept up in the drivings to accumulate material items and wealth ultimately puts more stresses on you as such things tend to demand more of you.

Of course, I do have a real name. If you do a little bit of digging you are going to find it. I go by the name of Eli but on here and in my role with this only ministry, I go by my pen name One_Monk.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

Merry Christmas!

Happy birthday Jesus!

Thank you Lord for sending us your Son!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Enjoy this time with family and friends and remember the reason for this holiday! Jesus Christ is our savior and we remember at this time why it was He came to Earth as a child, to die for our sins that we may live in Him!

Xmas – Part 2

The “mas” in Xmas means “mass” as in a Catholic worship mass.

So the X stands for Christ and the mas stands for mass so it means “Christ mass”.

But wait a minute! If mass is associated with Catholicism, why would Protestants have anything to do with such a term?

Well, what exactly is mass? Mass is the celebration of the Eucharist. This is also called Communion. So Protestants practice it too – despite having differing theologies behind it as compared to Catholics.

In other words, we can also translate the term Christmas or Xmas as

Christ mass = Christ Eucharist = Christ Communion

Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth as we remember why he came – for the sacrifice of His body and blood that he’d sacrifice shed for us later.


Haven’t read part 1, read it now.

Xmas

There are those who have a strong reaction to this term “Xmas”. The feeling is often as if Christ is being crossed out of the holiday. However, that is not what was is intended at all. It is rather a long-time used term too.

The X is actually the closest equivalent to the Greek chi character which, as you might have guessed, looks like an X. This is also the first letter in the Greek work for Christ (Χριστος). As such, a common short-hand for Christ was to simply write the Greek letter chi (Χ or χ).

So, Xmas is Christmas or, more specifically, Christos – mas.

But let us take one more moment to take a look at another component that often goes overlooked, the “mas” part. What does that refer to?

And we will address that in part 2 of Xmas . . .

Quotes #1

. . . let me guide you in some ways we can uphold the truth both individually and corporately:

1. Believe it

2. Memorize it.

3. Meditate on it.

4. Study it.

5. Obey it.

6. Defend it.

7. Live it.

8. Proclaim it.

The supreme mission of the church is to uphold the precious legacy of God’s Word. What privilege to support the truth!

Pastor Jack Jenkins

This above quote came from the message “Proper Conduct & Confession Within the Church (part 2)“.

Inclinations of the Heart

Perhaps a better title for this article would be “doing battle with inclinations of the heart”.

I do want to be clear here that I’m not talking about love or passion but I am talking about those knee-jerk reactions we all have to various situations and people. These flow out of the various experiences we each have had and include what we dislike or even hate. Getting burned or mistreated by someone in specific ways can often cause us to become untrusting of others.

These things are natural for us to do as we each naturally default to wanting to defend ourselves. Nevertheless, allowing the inclinations that have been built up in us to rule us can also lead to us doing harm or “injury” to others. I’m speaking primarily to the social repercussions but such things can easily even cross over into the physical.

As Christians, we are called to be like Christ (Philippians 2:1-11). This includes then that we are to reach out to the lost even when our very faculties war against us in doing so. A practical approach to quieting such warring, such battles with potentially harmful inclinations is to deliberately face them. Don’t flee. If you notice you are having difficulty working with say poor people because of a tendency or inclination to want to stay away from what you may think or feel is dirty, then that is exactly what you need to do.

This isn’t that different from facing a fear. You face your fears in order to keep them from dominating you. The same goes for inclinations that keep you from being genuine to others or serving others. You have to deliberately put yourself in situations that you will have to confront yourself, confront your negative knee-jerk reactions and in time the difficult battles will become easier and easier to handle to the point you are able to deal with them in stride without hesitation.

Christ was tested in every way that we have been (). He had to deal with the very inclinations we do. This includes fears and the temptation to treat others in negative ways. But Jesus Christ’s mind was filled with glorifying God in His actions. He wanted to glorify God above all else, even unto death! So what did he do? He was very versed in the Scriptures to the point that He was a rabbi (this was through much study, hint hint!), and he sought out the lost in order to bring them to God including those that much of Jewish society at the time would actively look down on, mistreat, &/or treat as filth.

Don’t let your knee-jerk reactions define or dictate you.

If you have a natural urge to want to turn away from the poor and the dirty, deliberately make it your practice to reach out to them in one way or another.

Need some ideas? Volunteer at homeless shelters. Take it upon yourself to hand out water to beggars. Continually educate yourself in the Scriptures so that you can deal appropriately with difficult or quarrelsome people. Always fight to remember that every person is an image bearer of God just as much as you, whether or not that person is truly reflecting Him or not. Treat others as you want to be treated. And, above all else, treat everyone in Godly love.

You must face the darkness within you. Always remember that you are not alone. If you have Christ, then you have His Holy Spirit within you. You are not alone and He will provide the strength. Always remember to pray and ask for His guidance and strength.

 

Tis the Season…

It is the season of much frivolity and busyness with all the celebrations and such on top of our typical work to do.

Please stop to remember the reason for this season, to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the greatest gift we could ever receive. 

More important than any new toy.

More important than any food item.

More important than anything in this world.

The greatest gift was given to us by God in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Emotions run high at this time year and they run the full spectrum of human emotion. Please remember those who will be alone at this time of year in your prayers and actions. Please remember to be cordial to everyone you meet. Even the smallest gestures of kindness can lift someone up.

And most of all, Merry Christmas to you!