James 5:1 (KJV) Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Imaginary Grace & Panic Attacks

A dear retired Baptist minister and his wife (friends of ours) each has a blog, and they are always thought provoking and entertaining ... and more. I will post one from each of their blogs below, with links. They are well worth following as a daily devotional or for sheer enjoyment. Or both. CMR

Imaginary Grace  by Dr. Richard Sandlin

A few years ago I published what I thought to be an excellent article by a profound writer friend entitled, "Saying No to the Needs of Others." Along with it, I included his picture. The photo showed him with a cigar in his mouth. As I mentioned to my readers at the time, I inserted the picture purposely to see how much grace some had. It's always good to check up on ourselves from time to time to see if we have what Paul calls, "true grace," or if it be only imaginary. How embarrassing to find you're not as spiritual as you thought yourself to be.

Out of all our readers, many of whom wrote concerning the blessing they received from the article, there was one very unhappy fundamentalist who took me to task. He apparently did not read the article; he only saw the stogie. Ironically, he didn't attack the one with the Havana between his lips, but me personally. It seems he was upset with my apparent (to him) sinful life-style, and what he saw as my abuse of grace in condoning and propagating sin. I'm sure he was not aware of the wonderful compliment he was giving me (Romans 3:8).

I would not have been offended in the least had I been in the presence of the great Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, when he lit up a cigar; nor would have I been when the renowned Bible expositor, G. Campbell Morgan, smoked his eight a day. Also, many of the Puritans when drinking a glass of wine.To do so would only have proven me to be the weak brother (Romans 14). And I'd like to think myself a little more mature than those who get upset at questionable things such as these and other things.

I like what C.S. Lewis has to say on this issue in his book, Mere Christianity. He writes, "One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing without wanting everyone else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons-marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning."

"Not only do some people frustrate the grace of God, but it frustrates them!
The Journal by Dr. Richard D. Sandlin is HERE 

Panic Attacks by Salle Sandlin

“Be not afraid of sudden fear…” Prov. 3:25

As far as I know, I’ve never experienced a full-blown panic attack, at least, as it is clinically described: a sense of impending doom or disaster; rapid heart rate; trembling; hyperventilation; chest pain; trouble swallowing, etc. These are only a few of the possible symptoms. They usually begin suddenly, anywhere, anytime, even when you’re sound asleep or driving a car. They peak in about ten minutes and leave you exhausted when they finally abate. But to quote an article from the Mayo Clinic website, “One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear that you'll have another one. You may fear having a panic attack so much that you avoid situations where they may occur. You may even feel unable to leave your home (agoraphobia) because no place feels safe.” In other words, as Proverbs 3:25 says, you fear the fear.
I said I’ve never experienced a panic attack, but I should qualify that by saying, a physical panic attack. The truth is, I’m well acquainted with the spiritual kind. Like the physical disorder, there need not be a legitimate cause for panic, only a perceived one. And in both cases, once you’ve experienced it, your greatest fear may be the fear of having another one. So much so, as the article says, you are loath to ever put yourself in a situation where it might happen again. When this happens, faith has been dealt a debilitating blow.
These thoughts came to mind when I read something by R. Arthur Matthews in his excellent little book, Born For Battle. “The devil is a panic artist and plays heavily on our self-consciousness in emergency situations.” They’re not sure what causes physical panic attacks, but the spiritual ones with which you and I may be struck, have Satan’s fingerprints all over them. He provokes (1Chron. 21:11), tempts (Mk. 1:3), binds (Lk. 13:16), takes advantage (2Cor. 2:11), wears disguises (2Cor. 11:14); in short, Revelation 12:9 says, he deceives the whole world. No wonder he scares us!
The remedies used for physical panic attacks are psychotherapy and medications, basically, to change your thought patterns. God’s remedy for spiritual panic attacks is to know and believe we have a personal Enemy who wants us to think he’s invincible, and we have no recourse but to surrender to his attacks (both lies); and knowing this, to stand fast in our position as “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37).
So take heed from the wise man and “be not afraid of sudden fear.” Satan is real and he’s scary; but we don’t have to believe his lies. We can call his bluff.

For The Girls by Salle Sandlin is HERE