Rinse Your Wishes

"Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control" (Proverbs 25:28).

The grace of self-control is a needed virtue in all our lives. We tend to think of self-control as it relates to bodily desire. This is certainly a part of it but we need to be aware that the call to self-control extends to our thoughts, emotions and speech.

I recently learned a spiritual practice that grows the virtue of self-control while reading Alexander Maclaren's exposition of Psalm 86. He instructs us to rinse our wishes:

"...let us learn to make all wishes and annoyances material for prayer. Wishes that are not turned into prayers irritate, disturb, unsettle, Wishes that are turned into prayers are calmed and made blessed. Stanley and his men lived for weeks upon a poisonous root which if eaten crude, brought all manner of diseases, but steeped in running water, had all the acrid juices washed out of it, and became wholesome food. If you steep your wishes in the stream of prayer the poison will pass out of them. Some of them will be suppressed, all of them will be hallowed, and all of them will be calmed. Troubles, great or small, should be turned into prayers."

Life does not have to be eaten crude. We can rinse our anxieties and troubles in grace. This is a hopeful spiritual practice that can help us grow in self-control. This will be our teaching focus at FBC Waco tonight and Sunday. We hope to see you at 5th and Webster.



Pastor George Zamora of the Buffalo River Indian Baptist Church is a good story teller. He traffics in Native American tales and biblical narratives.  We had lunch at the Lone Star Tavern this week and got caught up on life. I asked George about how he felt about his journey into ministry. He looked up from his beef tips and rice and said: There was a man that wanted to serve God. God said, "Go out and push that boulder." The man did. Day after day he pushed from sun up until sun down. He eventually grew weary. He asked God, "What am I doing? I want to serve you and I haven't moved this boulder very far. Help me understand. God replied, "Look at your arms. When you began they were sticks. Do see that muscle?  Look at your legs and back. You are strong. Now, you are strong.

When George finished his story he said, "That is how I feel about being a pastor." The fruit of faithfulness grows slowly and it is easy to become tired. George's story has a superficial resemblance to the story of Sisyphus. That doomed Corinthian keeps rolling his boulder in Tartarus. What nasty business.  Faithfulness, however,  is not hellish for the Christian because of God's presence, purpose and promises. George reminded me. He encouraged me not to grow wear in well doing. He flourishes in faithfulness. We can to.

Check out last Sunday's FBC Waco podcast for a message on faithfulness. This Sunday we hear Colossians 3:14 and think about love.

And about all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Backwards and Forwards 2 - 3 - 17

Jack Taylor said, "Goodness is doing what you can in the Spirit's dynamic." Goodness is a marriage of God's presence in our lives and a willingness to work for the benefit of others. Last Sunday we looked at three factors in the production of goodness from Galatians 6:6-10. Be sure to check out the podcast if you missed the message.

Wednesday night we continued to study goodness by looking at Barnabas. Luke described him as a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith (Acts 11:24). Barnabas provides a host of leadership values and skills that define Spirit-filled faithful service. Here is a sampling from Acts and Galatians:

  • Trustworthy
  • Celebrates God's work
  • Encourager
  • Seeks to bond men and women to God
  • Connector
  • Generous
  • Risk Taker
  • Well differentiated self
  • Failure overcomer
  • Good communicator

This Sunday morning we turn our attention to faithfulness.

"When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion" Acts 11:23 (NRSV).

Have a great weekend! We'll see you Sunday.
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