Anglican Morning Devotion, 22 January 2022 Anno Domini
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“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. 5Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. 6Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: 7For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. 8The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words. 9Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. 10Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: 11For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.” (Proverbs 23:4-11)
The Holy Scriptures are full of wisdom and strong counsel by which our lives can be rightly governed. If a man makes his daily bread of the wheat of Scripture, his life will be full of joy and peace; but if he heeds not the counsel of Scripture, his days will be filled with confusion and depression. The same holds true for the society around us. If society is not salted with a high regard for the justice and law of God, it will become a confused web of delusion and hedonistic insanity.
Our thoughts are guided by the words and visions by which we see and hear. If the words with which we think are nurtured by those Words of God in Scripture, our minds will become oriented, like a magnetic needle, to the magnetic north of God. But the ungodly conspirators from Eden to the present have learned that the more thoughts of wicked pleasure and greed that can be instilled in the mind and heart of the young and old, the greater their potential to ruin the man that God has made and all creation along with it.
The daily mental diet of our children is being increasingly corrupted by discordant teachings on perverse sex, disregard for human life, and hate-filled views of others. The world is imposing its sordid values deeply in the minds and hearts of our youth through the process of indoctrination. Our educational institutions are no longer educating but indoctrinating. When youthful minds are filled with the deception of darkness and hate, their actions will follow in close order. Their thoughts will be guided by dark teachings and not the Mind of God. But if our youth are nurtured up in the Word of God, their vocabulary of thought becomes the vocabulary of God, and they will think the thoughts of righteousness and not wickedness.
“Train up a child in the way that he should go” was not spoken in vain. If we bend the trunk of an oak sapling, it will grow up with that disfiguration intact. If we fill the minds of our children with perversions and delusion, those will be hard barriers to overcome in future years; albeit there are no barriers that cannot be overcome through the working of the Holy Ghost in the heart.
Consider the great decline in educational and social values just over our own lifetimes. (I am 78 years on earth). There has been a ‘dumbing’ down in educational achievement and moral values that began perhaps one hundred years ago. The process was commensurate with the decline in morality of the American society in general. My day began in the first grade of elementary school with the Lord’s Prayer, a reading from the Psalms (as well as assignment to memorize), and the Pledge of Allegiance. But the modern man has discovered that the Bible and Ten Commandments are very deadly to the minds of our youth. What evil thinking! We learned also of great biblical figures such as Cyrus the Great, Daniel, David the Shepherd Boy, and many other figures from Holy Scripture.
Like the magnetic needle, my maturing life often deviated from the Magnetic North of God just as the ship’s compass will fluctuate during storms at sea, or when passing other vessels whose natures cause the needle to deviate. But the moral compass will always return to the Magnetic North of God once the sea calms and the passing attractions of worldly temptations are behind us.
I believe it was Sir Francis Bacon (I may be wrong) who said that our means of learning in the world is reversed from the proper manner of learning. “Man tends to learn through the mind to the heart; but the reverse is more correct – we should learn through the heart to the mind.” If we have hidden God’s Word in our hearts, our minds will be guided by that Holy Vocabulary and our desires and actions governed thereby. Two passages come to mind:
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) and “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” (Matthew 15:18-20)