It’s 3am and one of those nights when there’s no point
lying waiting for those sheep to carry you piggy-back to the Land
of Nod (I can never say that without thinking of those two children
succumbing to the Atlantic in the doomed Titanic).

I promised an update with each chapter of Disciplines of a Godly Man. I’ve been reading it but just not pent the energy to sit down and write about the individual chapters. But I will say that Hughes has helped me out immensely over the past few weeks. His book along with Stuart
Olyott’s series ‘The Aspects of Spirituality’ has made my 2011
already. I skipped my daily readings today (lack of organisation)
but I’ve learnt that taking time out to read God’s word and to
spend time with him in pray is so important. Not just through books
and sermons but through my own realisation. It just makes more
sense the more I read it.

I’ve found myself thinking about things a
lot lately. I want to square up to why I believe the gospel. I
believe it to be true, but why? Is it simply a rut that I’m in, do
I do what I do everyday not out of love for my Redeemer but out of
routine, out of life, ‘I do it cos I’ve always done it!’ They’re
questions I need to answer because I insult everyone around me if I
don’t have good enough answers for their questions. Hmm.

But you must push yourself towards godliness.

For January 2011, I think it’s time to read through a book step by step. What book would be better than R. Kent Hughes’ “Disciplines of a Godly Man.” There are 18 chapters, covering the disciplines of:

  • Purity
  • Marriage
  • Fatherhood
  • Friendship
  • Mind
  • Devotion
  • Prayer
  • Worship
  • Integrity
  • Tongue
  • Work
  • Church
  • Leadership
  • Giving
  • Witness
  • Ministry

So here is an overview of chapter one, “Discipline of Godliness”:

I learned that personal discipline is the indispensable key for accomplishing anything in life.

Hughes lists various people in history who had discipline, and that it showed. These spent hours to make themselves what they became through hours and hours of discipline.

I repeat … discipline is everything!

He focuses on 1 Timothy 4:7b;

γύμναζε δὲ σεαυτὸν πρὸςεὐσέβειαν
But (you must) push yourself for godliness

γύμναζε has connotations of good, hard exercise. Maybe “train” is a little easy on the mind, but you could easy replace the word for “work out”, “exercise” or “push hard”. “Strain towards” maybe?
I like how Hughes says we need to have spiritual sweat. Hebrews 12:1 is an example of this.
He ends the short chapter with two reasons for the book:

  1. “Disciplined Christian lives are the exception now the rule”. What is my motivation? It should be because I love God and so I want to please him.
  2. Men are probably more undisciplined than woman. He gives various evidence for this, but the bottom line is that most men need a kick up the backside.

It’s time to listen to Paul and push myself towards godliness.


The Identity of the Scottish Nation: An Historic Quest

Critical Review

Just found a great book by William Ferguson going through the ins and outs of the history of Scotland. Annoyingly it’s not in the Arts and Social library in Cardiff, but un-annoyingly, I found a link to read it free online.

The Identity of the Scottish Nation: An Historic Quest.

Actually, it’s a deceptive website. It’s not free, but you can read most of it on Google Books here. Phew.

Seminar: The Foreign Presence in China

Got a seminar tomorrow and have absolutely no idea what I’m reading. Thank goodness for Google Books which has the reading I need for this seminar here.

It’s definitely going to be easier by breaking everything down first. The Boxer Rebellion, simple stuff really. As always, there’s an awesome Wiki article, which gives a great general overview.

According Roger A. Thompson, Westerners were just being too pushy. They allowed too many provisions to be made by force.

treaty ports, extraterritorial rights, tariffs and indemnities were specified and, for the first time, the Chinese were compelled to allow foreigners to travel and reside in China’s interior.

Not only this but China was being filled with Christian missionaries. From what I can see there were some good and some very bad. I’ve already mentioned John and Betty Stam in a previous post. Both were murdered in 1934 by Communist soldiers. Although this was many years after, it proves that we can’t lump all the missionaries together. Just as anything in live there are the good and bad.

The first China Inland Missionaries created their first permanent station in Pingyang in 1879 where they got to work aiding the huge human suffering caused by the famines.

Thompson bring up an interesting point which I need to look into. He suggests that a cult had begun through the Protestant missionaries which he calls the ‘psychology of martyrdom’. This idea wasn’t isolated, but it persecution was told to be expected.

Times changed in 1876-9 when the Great Famine occurred.

I don’t know, Chinese history isn’t really doing it for me at the moment. Well, maybe it’s because it’s 2:23am and I am shattered. The Shining Red Lanterns anybody?

Robert of Rhuddlan

Interesting character, it might be good to do a piece of work on him. According to Wikipedia, he was a Norman adventurer, lord of NE Wales and for a time, lord of all N Wales. So a pretty exciting guy.

I’m reading “The Normans in Britain” by Walker, and Rhuddlan seems to keep popping up. He’s mentioned in the Domesday Book alongside Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth for paying William the Conqueror £40 pa. He was very influential in that Norman success depended upon him in the 1070s and 80s. His castles at Rhuddlan and Degannwy were the base of trouble for much of Gwynedd.

There’s load more about this guy. I’m not sure whether to spend time digging deeper? Maybe another time. But definitely a guy to keep an eye on.

Never again, f[r]iend!

This is the last week that I lose a squash game! Time to up the level and wipe the smile off Nick’s mug. First, got a week to do 10 press-ups. Second, grab a cinnamon latte and sit down with a good squash magazine (which I’m yet to find). Thirdly, get back onto contact lenses. Finally, destroy my opponent next Tuesday.

Right, first press-up….

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