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!

About Me – On Politics

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.


Keeping Things Simple

I have agonized over this one as there is so much I could say and so much ground I could cover but I have instead opted to keep this as simple and to the point as possible.

Let me be clear about a few things:

  1. I am not a Democrat (US).
  2. I am not a Republican (US).
  3. I believe loyalty to a political party contributes to factionalism and thereby division in the country – especially as of late in the US.
  4. I regularly participate in elections despite what you may think after reading 1 – 3.

I may lean one way or another as commonly described to one party or another on an individual issue or another but this can truly be said of anyone.

Even with all that said, I do not place any of my ultimate hope or trust in governmental systems as they have so often erred and followed the ways of personal glorification, power, and general worldliness.

My ultimate hope is in Christ and Him alone!

It is through Christ, through studying God’s Word, through being continually transformed to be more and more like the Son that we can be more like the God-reflecting people we ought to be and thereby the sort of citizens we ultimately ought to be. It all starts with our relationship with God! It all starts with Christ!

I could go on and on about a need for limited government or explain how the separation of church and state is supposed to work or even where I am at on the current political climate – but all these things are part of a system that will one day pass away. Our relationship with the one true God does not pass away whether we are in this life, heaven, or the new world with Christ as king.

I choose to focus on the eternal and simply do the best that I can with the rest, the temporal, knowing full well that God is in control and working all things according to His purposes.


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.

A Prayer List

Near my computer I keep a short list of groups of people that are inherently against Christianity in the world today. I have this list on a notecard and they are there so that I can remember them, pray for them, and pray for those they have persecuted.

I will share with you that list. It isn’t a long list. I fully intend to add to it as I find out about more groups. You’ll notice that could have added generalized groups but I’m purposefully trying to name those that are against us Christians rather than leave them nameless.

  • Al Queda
  • Boko Haram
  • Fulami Herdsmen
  • ISIS/ISIL
  • Muslim Brotherhood
  • Taliban
  • Various World Governments/Parties
    • Chinese Communist Party
    • Bharatiya Janata Party (Hindu nationalists in India, a political party)
    • Iran (difficult to pinpoint here)

I realize my divisions may be a bit artificial as groups like the Muslim Brotherhood are also quite political but they’re here and listed. Please join me in prayer for their members and those they effect – that they see the light and for encouragement to our brothers and sisters they persecute.

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!


A Woman’s Conduct – 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Part 1)

There are many things misunderstand by the world when they glance at the Scriptures. 1 Timothy 2:9-15 is no different. Even followers of Christ have been known to misinterpret such a passage. This face emphasizes all the more the need for careful study of any text – especially every inch of the Bible!

In verse 9-15 we see a call for women to not make themselves a distraction in the church. To be clear, we are talking about within church gatherings and functions – especially worship times.

“I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,” (v. 9)

When we look into the original Greek it was written and the context, we see a few things:

  1. This is a command. Not a suggestion or opinion. The command goes to each individual woman and not some sort of external “fashion police”.
  2. “adorn” comes from the Greek word kosmeo. It is the same word cosmetics comes from. It encompasses not only clothing but the entire person – the whole look as well as demeanor.
  3. “modestly and discreetly”. Modest specifically has sexual overtones. The idea is to avoid dressing in seductive or suggestive ways in the worship of God. This includes how she carries herself. “discreet” is aimed at being self-controlled such that she isn’t flaunting her sexuality.
  4. The overall idea here is not to institute a bunch of external rules but that a woman in public worship would cultivate a heart that exemplifies a personal intent to not draw others away from the true point of being at the public worship – to glorify God in worship.
  5. The remaining points about hair and jewelry has a cultural element. We must not forget that the original Greek letter was written to a particular audience. In those times, elaborately braided hair was a way to show off to people that a woman could afford what was commonly considered an extravagant luxury. Even in our own culture today, there would be counterparts to such a practice as you think about it. The same goes for the costly garments and jewelry. It was common then to dress up in such things when you wanted to flaunt your wealth in those times – not something that is beneficial in a worship time. Committing to such elaborate actions would be a clear sign of vanity.
  6. The passage also speaks to the practices of prostitutes who would also deliberately dress and decorate themselves in ways to draw attention to themselves. Not a manner one should emulate when the point is to gather to worship God.

Following on the heels is verse 10:

but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.

Intent of the heart flows out into one’s actions. A woman following after God will make clear such intent in her actions resulting in good works that ultimately point back to the God that has influenced their heart to act so.

No where is this passage saying women cannot wear nice things to church, have nice hair, or wear jewelry. The core, the chief point is the intent of the heart and the actions that flow out of this. This will naturally include a cultural sensitivity to the norms the people of the gathering are most accustomed in the surrounding culture to gauge what would be excessive. In my mind, what would be considered typically great to look like at prom wouldn’t be a good idea for church worship (as an example).

On the points of culture, no where do I intend to suggest that culture should trump Scripture. In what has been said so far, the point was to bring attention and understanding to the context of the audience Paul was writing to in 1 Timothy. This context helps us to understand the reason for why the particular words were stated in this letter as they were. It would be no different today. We see politicians deliberately ripping what opponents have said out of the original context in order to twist the original meaning to their own ends. Considering the context of any particular passage in Scripture helps us to ensure we avoid twisting the original meaning of the text as it was written and reading the Greek helps all the more with this.


Continue onto Part 2.


A Woman’s Conduct – 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Part 1)

A Hiatus & Updates

I’m taking a “hiatus” away from the many things that have been monopolizing my time and from those things taking away my focus.

I’m narrowing my focus to the following:

  • Web Design
  • School work for seminary
  • Blogging

This new focus scheme means more of my time will be narrowed in which includes this blog. This will include additional posts – as has occurred this week – on other items outside the series that posts on Sundays.

I also mentioned before that everything will be funneling through this site now which includes a new page under About called News & Updates. This will be the one-stop place to see previous posts from the early days of the blog on such a topic to more recent entries that will be directly written on the page. It will follow a journal format with the most recent entry listed at the top.

That’s all for now!

God bless!