MIND GAMES

By Jon Bowles

10 March 2007

(PLAY FROM START)

I'm not sure how many of you have seen the film "War Games." Do you remember the film "War Games"? There was a teenager who hacked into what he thought was a gaming company. He saw all the various games on offer, and he selected one: 'Global Thermal Nuclear War.' He merrily was playing this, and he didn't realize that he had actually hacked into a military establishment and was setting off a global nuclear war. And so the film went; and finally the way they got the computer to respond at the end was they started playing Noughts and Crosses (which I think in America is called Tic Tac Toe), and they got it to play against itself. And it started to understand that, no, it's a no win. It had, if you like, a mind game -- a computer silicone mind game playing against itself. And it started to come to the conclusion there's no win in Tic Tac Toe (or Noughts and Crosses) because, if you start in a certain position, it then applied the same thing to the thermal nuclear war; and came to the conclusion there's no win in thermal nuclear war either.

Now Mr. Pippy last week talked of "Satan and the Armor of God." This was a pre-Passover sermon, and certainly it's something that we all need to be looking at now. We need to be looking at the pre-Passover season as the lead up to Passover, getting ourselves prepared for Passover. And I want to continue with the basic theme as far as another pre-Passover sermon, which goes on from what Mr. Pippy was talking about -- about "Satan and the Armor of God."

The subject I want to deal with is the area really that Satan deals in, and the area that (if you like) is our front line -- because, if you want a title for this sermon, the title of this sermon is MIND GAMES. Mind games, all of us play them. All of us play mind games, and yet you see there are areas that we shouldn't be playing mind games in. There are areas that, yes, it's okay to play mind games in. And, unfortunately, sometimes we get them mixed up. Sometimes we play mind games where we shouldn't. So it's an area that we have got to be on our guard.

And certainly I find, as time goes on and we look at the world and the way that the world is going, I find myself getting furiously angry with things. And I find myself, if I'm really honest, that I have murdered people several times over this past year. Huh, week? In fact, even coming down from Llanboidy today, there was one particular situation where I thought, "Hang on a minute. What did you just think?" Mind games, all of us do it. All of us do it, and yet we need to be aware of what's going on -- because this is the front line. This is the front line that we are battling in.

The areas I want to cover, there are six areas:

IMAGINATION (PLAY FROM 3:57)

So let's look at this subject, therefore, of imagination. Turn over to II Corinthians chapter 10. As I say, every single one of us has a problem with this. I don't care who we are. They are different problems. We have different weaknesses. But, in our mind, we are not perfect. I can guarantee you we are not perfect! In II Corinthians 10 verse 3 it says:

II Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh [That's not where it's at. We're walking in flesh, but that's not where the front line is.]: (4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [They are not fleshly.], but [they are] mighty though God [Notice how they are mighty. They are mighty through God. That's why they are mighty.] to the pulling down of strong holds.) [It's like having a castle, and you go ahead and you pull down the walls of the castle so you can get in.] (5) Casting down imaginations ...

And when we're looking at imagination, many times the imagination that we've got is the problem. We imagine certain scenarios, we imagine certain things; and we get ourselves ... well, we sin. That's what it boils down to. We sin.

II Corinthians 10:5-6 Casting down imaginations,, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God [There's a contrast between the imagination that we have and the knowledge that God determines. And the answer is that we bring:] ... into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. [That's the aim! Now, doing that is impossible humanly; but that's the aim.] (6) And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is [filled to the full].

When you actually have your obedience filled to the full, when you have in fact done that, when you've gone ahead and you've brought into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ -- then you're in a constant readiness to avenge anything that's out of line, that does not fit with this obedience that is mentioned there (the captivity of the thoughts to the obedience of Christ) -- the same kind of mind that Christ had.

As I say, the front line is our minds. That's where we fight, and that's where we've got to make sure that these mind games that we play ... And we all do them, and it's part of being human. I mean we have concepts. We have dreams. How are we going to build? Supposing you are going to go ahead and build a house. How do you build a house? You've got to conceive the house, and then you've got to go and carry it out. It's all a mind game. It's a mind concept. There are certain things that are good and certain things that are not. If you turn over to Colossians chapter 3, we find here:

Colossians 3:1-5 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. [In other words, the mind is on the things of God and on the things that are godly.](3) For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (4) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory [If our minds are focused in the right area.]. (5) Mortify [put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth; [And here he starts to list them.] fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Now when you think of imagination, just think about the word. What is it? "Imag (image) ination." It comes from the word "image." Well, what's an image? It's an idol, or it can be. So an imagination, if you set up something that is an idol, that is against God's way ... And this is why it says, "covetousness, which is idolatry." It's "imag (image) ination." And if you go back to Exodus 20 and start to see how this fits together within God's law, in Exodus 20 we find the two laws being mentioned there. You find the one over in verse 17, that you shouldn't covet. But notice: It's not just that you shouldn't covet.

Exodus 20:17 You [should] not covet your neighbor's house, ... your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor's.

In other words, you're trying to get. You're trying to want something. It's "in" coming. It's something that is not ours. That's covetousness. And in verse 4 of chapter 20 it says:

Exodus 20:4-6 You shall not make unto yourself any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (5) You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the [Eternal] your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers unto the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; (6) and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

So the instruction about idolatry is that you don't go ahead and make something, and bow down to it, and prostrate yourself before it. Yes, you're looking at Exodus (as originally given) as being literal, and certainly that still applies. But, as Paul brings out, he says, "No." He says, "covetousness, which is a form of idolatry." It's in our minds. We set something up, which we then bow down to; and yet it shouldn't be there. It shouldn't actually be there. We have the wrong images in our mind. If they're the wrong images in our mind, then we've got a problem. And imagination: When we're looking at the front line, we're looking at imagination as being right in there.

Now, there's nothing wrong having imagination. As I'm speaking now, I'm speaking into this microphone. It's going into the computer. It's going down the wires, and it's going into a laser somewhere, and being shoved down a fiber optic cable. If it wasn't for imagination, you wouldn't have any of that. None of that at all! If you want to go to a specific instant of one thing where it was used in that, you go to Einstein; and he was a clerk in a patents office, riding the train. And on his way to and from the patents office on the train, his imagination went; and he imagined himself, instead of riding a train, riding a beam of light. What's it like to ride a beam of light? If light, what speed does a beam of light go at? How fast does a beam of light go? It's the speed of light. And the speed of light, obviously, as you approach the speed of light the mass increases. So a photon has no mass. Otherwise, it would be as big as infinity. A photon can have no mass. And so you have a quantum of energy going down these wires, and the voice here is being transmitted by these things. That's one thing. You've also got E=mc2 in a bomb, from that imagination of somebody 'sitting on a beam of light' and saying, "What's it going to be like where time stops?" Everything else goes whizzing past you, but you stay still.

And this imagination, and the way the imagination is used, it's been used and must be used. Look at Christ and the parables. I mean, if you can think of where Christ had the parables, how He painted word pictures, what did He say? He said, "Imagine yourself (imagine) that you are trying to get a splinter out of somebody's eye; and you've got a plank stuck in your own." It's imagination. There's nothing wrong with imagination. It is when the image that is in there is wrong. It is when the image is covetous, is "in" coming, is selfish. Imagination itself is not wrong. It is the image, what image is set up -- whether it is against God and against God's law.

FANTASY (PLAY FROM 12:55)

Now that, therefore, comes across when we look at the subject of fantasy. When we look at the subject of fantasy, normally people think of sexual fantasy. Is sexual fantasy wrong? Well, fortunately we've been given a book that shows very clearly that, no, it's not. But (and this is a big "but") ... And the book, if you want to go ahead and turn over to Song of Solomon ... If you go over to Song of Solomon, there is an entire book within scripture that is to do with fantasy; and it is to do with married love between a husband and wife, and the fantasies that accompany it. And you read here in Song of Songs (I'm not going to read all of it, but you can read it in your own time.) in verse 4 it says:

Song of Solomon 1:4 Draw me, we will run after you: the king has brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in you, we will remember your love more than wine: the upright love you.

But you compare it with verse 7:

Song of Solomon 1:7-8 Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where you feed, where you make your flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of your companions? (8) If you know not, O you fairest among women, go your way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed your kids beside the shepherds' tents.

It's a fantasy. It is saying ... They're talking about making love within the bedroom, but the fantasy is that they are out within the shepherds' tents; and there's nothing wrong with this -- in the right context, in the right place. Verse 14 of chapter 1:

Song of Solomon 1:14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

Now, I've been to Engedi. Engedi is a beautiful place. They weren't in Engedi. It was a fantasy. In other words, where they imagined themselves to be. Chapter 2 verse 17:

Song of Solomon 2:17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be you like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

They weren't in the mountains of Bether, but they were imagining themselves there. So the fantasy where it's directed between husband and wife and the mind games even there are okay. But, turn over to Matthew 5, because here is where it comes unstuck because, when you are looking at Matthew 5, the fantasies get out of hand. And it says in verse 27:

Matthew 5:27-29 You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery: (28) But I say unto you, that whosoever looks on a woman [The context is within adultery. It's not talking about your wife or your husband. But within the context of adultery, whoever looks on a woman:] to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. (29) And if your right eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you ...

Here again, you've got the imaginary there within scripture. Does it mean you literally get something and gouge your eye out? Of course it doesn't. It means you take drastic action. You do what is necessary. If the television is causing you to sin, you get rid of the television. This is the type of thing it's talking about.

Matthew 5:29-30 ... for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into [gehenna]. (30) And if your right hand offend you, cut if off, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into [gehenna].

And all of this is in the subject of this fantasy, but the fantasy goes into covetousness. And so, it is okay (as we've seen within Song of Solomon) between husband and wife. But when that line shifts and you imagine that you are with somebody else who is not your husband or not your wife, then it is wrong; and then you start going into mind games. So when you are looking at this subject ... And, let's face it; we're looking at this subject in the context of Passover. All of us are approaching Passover, and what's the direction? What's the mind of God on this subject? How do we approach this particular subject? These things are important. It is very important that we approach it in the right way -- that we make sure that the mind games that we play are godly. The imagination that we have is according to the Word of God -- that it doesn't go outside that Word, doesn't go into covetousness.

MUSIC AFFECTS OUR MINDS (PLAY FROM 17:50)

All right. Let's talk about music. You think, "Well, how does that got to do with mind games? What does that tell us as far as mind games are concerned?" You see music is very, very powerful; and I mean very, very powerful! Why? As far as the mind is concerned, why is music so powerful? If you were doing something and it was something intense, and a certain tune was playing -- when that tune begins to play again, your mind goes straight back. At least, mine certainly does; and I'm sure that yours does as well.

I know it amazes me, it absolutely amazes me that parents would ever, ever buy one of these musical pottys. I really cannot imagine anybody. Can you imagine somebody age 30-something in a board meeting, and somebody whistles a tune. "Hey, they're playing my tune;" and they kind of rush off to the loo. I mean a musical potty is a potty idea as far as I'm concerned.

But you see what I mean? Music does have an effect. Music really does have an effect. It has a powerful effect on the mind! It has mental patterns. There's an interesting scripture (if you turn over to Isaiah 23), because unfortunately we might have been doing something at certain instances where music was playing. And let's be perfectly blunt, really blunt: physical fornication when certain tunes were playing. If those tunes come back, so do the memories. Fight as you may, you won't go ahead and erase them. And it is actually used here, within scripture; and it explains how a whore actually operates. Mind games! Look at what it says in Isaiah 23 and verse 15:

Isaiah 23:15-16 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing like a harlot. [Why? What's he mean, Tyre sing like a harlot? How does a harlot sing? Well, listen to some of the modern music, and look at some of the actors there; and you'll probably understand how a harlot sings.] (16) Take a harp, go about the city, you harlot that has been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.

Music can bring to memory certain experiences, intense experiences. We've got to be aware of that. We've got to be aware of that, and be very careful with mind games. If we are immersed in the music that we were also immersed in with a totally different lifestyle, we are going to be corrupted by that! The mind games that we will play will be wrong, and we'd better make sure that we understand that. That we start to understand something about this subject and realize that this scripture is in here for a reason.

You see, harlotry is not just a case of physical harlotry. There is spiritual harlotry as well. And if you think back, what happened regarding ... Let me ask the question: What happened? What was the first thing changed within this Church? What was it? Yeah, the songbook (probably the first thing). I'm not sure whether Passover bread, healing, and makeup -- they were about the same time. But one of the first things ... They rushed it through hell for leather -- the songbook. Why? Because of what it says here: "Take a harp, go about the city, you harlot that has been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered."And that was done deliberately. It was done deliberately within this Church, and it brings the mind of people back to the spiritual harlotry; and we'd better make sure we understand that.

But I think some of the people don't understand that to this day. They just do not understand this at all. Turn over to Revelation 17. I do get apoplectic I know about this subject of music and this subject of the psalms; and you might think, "Hey, he's over the top." But you think about what happened. You just think about what took place. You go back and listen to Mr. Armstrong and his explanation (We've actually got the transcript on it, if you want to go and read it: Coming Out of Sin, interestingly enough.) where he's talking about the actual hymns that we sing here in Church written by his brother, and the reason why, and how we are going to be learning as much again. That was his aim. His direction was to get rid of all the Protestant stuff. It was to get rid of it, and to be replaced completely by the things that his brother had written and the type of things that are based on the Word of God. But here in Revelation 17 it says:

Revelation 17:1-5 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vails, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither: I will show unto you the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters [And the waters are people. Verse 15 talks about that.]: (2) With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication [and the songs were playing], and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. (3) So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (4) And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of [filth -- "abominations" literally means filth -- spiritual filth.]and filthiness of her fornication: (5) and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS [or the filth] OF THE EARTH.

That's the way God looks at the Roman church and her harlot daughters, the Protestant churches. That's the way God looks at it.

Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great [amazement].

I wonder how many of those people that in fact she has destroyed, and destroyed perhaps even spiritually -- have been destroyed spiritually, drunk with the blood of the saints -- bringing their minds back to Protestantism through the very songs that we put up with.

You know when I first came across that songbook that came out, I looked at it; and I thought, "Hey, I know some of these. They're really nice tunes, good tunes." Totally oblivious as to what was going on! Why did I remember them? Because I was a boy soprano, that's why. I was a boy soprano - cassock, surplus... and I sang these things. I knew the words. "The Church's One Foundation," I can parrot it off now. You know the words. So what happens though? It's the same as what we're saying. It says, "Sing you harlots ... that you may be remembered." THAT IS WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THIS CHURCH -- in the Church of the Living God. It should NEVER, EVER be! You do not take something from a harlot and you stick it in the Church, where the Church is what? The Bride of Christ. You do NOT sing the songs of a harlot in the Bride of Christ.

It's not a case that Mr. Armstrong allowed certain Protestant hymns within the Church. Mr. Armstrong did not live through the apostasy that we have lived through. We should go to the direction in which he was going (which was coming out of sin, coming out of this kind of stuff) and not go back there. They bring the mind back. I'm not going to go into the specific ones, but they do take the mind back. So mind games!

Music makes mind games. It brings things back to mind. It starts the mind going down a certain direction. It can be used in a physical way, in the things that we've done in the past physically. It can be used in a spiritual way, in the things that we have done in the past spiritually (which are just as much filth in the eyes of God). And we'd better understand that. As we approach Passover, as we examine ourselves, do we still like those things? Is our mind still going down that area? Is that what we're looking for?

Are we going along the ways that God determines and specifies? The Psalms were designed to be sung in the temple of God, and the book has been preserved for us. We should be singing those words. We should not be going back to the Protestant muck. I make no apologies for labeling it for what it is. It's muck from a harlot.

MOTIVES (PLAY FROM 28:03)

What about motives? Am I therefore ascribing motives? Well, I'd better be very careful if I am, because in Colossians chapter 3 verse 12 it says:

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God [The ones who have the Spirit of God, that are being led by the Spirit of God. This is the kind of thing that we should be putting on.], holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

Patience with one another. But what do we do? What do we play in our minds? Let's take a physical example. Coming today in the car, we were coming up to a road works; and the right hand lane was closing off. We were notified that the right hand lane was closing off; and therefore, with the right hand lane closing off, the traffic all got across to the left hand. So we start to the left hand. And you know what happened: The people coming down the right hand side weave right in the front, sticks their nose in, and away they go in front of everybody else. It infuriates everybody else, including moi here.[Editor's note: Moi is French for "me" or "I" - and used extensively by Miss Piggy in the children's program Sesame Street!] Moi was very, very infuriated!

But I had an accomplis in my midst. There was a guy in front of me with a big pickup truck, and he pulled himself out into that side of the road; and I thought, "Right, great!" And all of a sudden a certain Fiesta came straight in front of me, and I thought "Grrrrrrr." And then he somehow managed to maneuver his way around, and he got through in front of him. I'd taken a look at this guy in front, and these two fellows had kind of short hair (really kind of skinhead-like hair); and I thought, "Oh, a couple of perverts." That's what went through my mind. I thought "Destroy them, get rid of them," going through my mind. Here's my mind. All the mind games, all the things -- you know, "Hack off, off with the heads" and all the things you'd like to do to these guys.

What was it? It might be a man and his son, or a man and his brother, going to see perhaps one of their wives in hospital -- desperate to try and get through. Well, that thought didn't quite occur to me in 10 seconds. [Everyone laughs.] That didn't quite get through there. No, all the other thoughts -- all the other mind games; that all came through. Boy, did it ever! Motives. What was the motive of this guy that just cut in front of me? In Colossians 3:12, it says:

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering ["Ah, except when you're in a queue and they've closed the right hand lane off." No, it doesn't say that. That isn't there.] (13) [Transcriber's note: Next Mr. Bowles mistakenly read, "Forswearing one another." Everyone laughed, and he then correctly read:] Forbearing one another [He said, "That was a Freudian slip if I ever heard." And commenting: "I need a new pair of glasses," he then went on reading.] and forgiving one another, if any man has a quarrel against any.

But you see our mind plays tricks. Our mind games really do play tricks. Even when you are up here giving a sermon, it can do it. [He laughs.] You've got to be careful. And all of us do it. All of us struggle. If we think we can go into the Passover and say, "Hey, I've done it. I've ticked all the boxes. I've got all the boxes ticked this last year." -- we are kidding ourselves. Totally, utterly, kidding ourselves because it's bring every thought into subjection to that knowledge of Christ (the same kind of knowledge that Christ had). And it says here:

Colossians 3:13-16 Even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. (14) And above all these things put on [this agape], which is the bond of [perfectness. And we need to be perfect as our Father.] (15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and be you thankful. (16) And let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Now these are three types of psalms, by the way: psalmos, humnos, and odes. Those are the three words being used. They are three types of psalms, the ways of singing. But it is the case here that we are to forgive one another. And in our motives, if you turn over to I Peter chapter 2, we find the example -- because we're talking about "as Christ forgave you." Yes, but also notice the way in which Christ handled these things. It says:

I Peter 2:20-21For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? But if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. [This is acceptable before God.] (21) For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps.

But what's in the mind? You know, when we are buffeted for it and it's wrong. Something happens against us, and it's wrong. They've got it wrong. We were innocent, and we are still prosecuted; and that will come. This is a problem. And this is the reason why I'm saying I want to give this today. It's because we are going into a time when that is going to be the case. We're going to be prosecuted, and they are going to be wrong. And we are seeing a society immerge that is becoming more and more alien to what we stand for. And we are likely to get ourselves hauled up before the courts. But it says here:

I Peter 3:22-23 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. [I can't say that, but Christ could. He did no sin, no guile in His mouth.] (23) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously.

His entire focus was committed to the One that judges righteously. And this is the problem. It's that when we judge motives, if in our mind we start saying, "Ah, he did that (or she did that) to me; and she did that to me because ... " And we start to look at the motives behind it, and this is where the mind games start. All of us, we do; all of us are guilty of this. All of us need to make sure that we understand that, no, we need to look at these areas. Turn over to James chapter 4.

James 4:1-2 From where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? (2) You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have.

How do we kill? We kill in our mind. We're not talking primarily about going out and killing, literally; but in our mind we do. As I say, I can think of several individuals that I have killed in this last year or so. When I find myself in certain situations, when I find myself imagining certain situations, I'll take them out. Yeah, just take them out. Is that the way? Is that the way Christ operated?

James 4:2-7 You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and you cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. [You don't recognize that there is a God above these things. You go to Him, and you ask about these things. Ask perhaps for the wisdom to handle these trials, these difficulties.] (3) You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon [what you want] your lusts [and everything else]. (4) You adulterers and adulteresses [Sound familiar? It's the same kind of thing, the same kind of mentality.], know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is an enemy of God. (5) Do you think that the scripture says in vain, The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy? (6) But he gives more grace. Wherefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. (7) Submit yourselves therefore to God.

What did we just read over in I Peter? That He committed Himself to Him that judges righteously.

James 4:7-11 Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners [If you are doing something specifically wrong, then stop it and make sure that your hands are clean.], and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. [When you try to go in two different ways at once. And this is the problem: We are doubleminded.] (9) Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (11) Do not speak evil one of another, brethren. He that speaks evil of his brother [Now this is a brother within the Church, a sister within the Church.], and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law ...

Why? Because that brother is trying to keep the law, and the sacrifice of Christ is covering the sin. So if we are speaking evil of another, we are speaking evil of the law. We are actually criticizing the law, because that is what he or she is trying to do.

James 4:11 ... and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.

That's the antithesis. You are setting yourself above the law. But we have to be a doer, one that sets himself beneath the law and a certain humility that is there. Turn back a couple of pages to chapter 2.

James 2:8-9 If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well. (9) But if you have respect of persons, you commit sin, and are [convicted]of the law as transgressors.

In other words, if we make a distinction between -- we start judging motives. We say, "Oh, she doesn't do (this, that, and the other)." "He doesn't do (this, that, and the other)."

James 2:10-11 Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (11) For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law.

And he's not talking about literally going out and putting a knife in somebody. He's talking about these are mind games. These are mind games that we do. And what happens? We play these mind games. We play the mind games in such a way that we find ourselves in a certain situation, we imagine ourselves in a certain situation (an unjust situation, perhaps); and then we do whatever. We allow our mind to go down a direction that is sinful, that is wrong.

And what did Christ do? He put His life in the hands of the One that judges righteously -- God Himself. Do we do that? Are we doing it consistently? We are going to need to do it in the future. As we go forward into the future from this point, that is going to become a big issue. It talks about when you are dragged before the courts, you don't give conscious thought; but you leave it to the Spirit that will give you the things you need in the hour that is necessary.

And it's not just talking about having conscious thought in the day before hand. It can be a few years beforehand as well. Now, when we imagine ourselves in a certain situation, it's unfruitful to start imagine ourselves in certain situations. It's better to get the mind off these things, to stop playing those kinds of mind games because we end up doing what? Murdering people! At least, that's what I find. That's what I do. But here in James, it says:

James 2:11-12 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill [You in your mind go and kill somebody.], you are become a transgressor of the law. (12) So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

If we go back, we can see the progression of sin. We can see in James chapter 1, where it gives this progression of sin.

James 1:13-20 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man. (14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lusts [What he wants, what she wants.], and enticed. (15) Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. [And it does. It really does. It then goes on, and it says:] (16) Do not err, my beloved brethren. (17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, [You know we do not go ahead and have mind games that end up with us murdering somebody. That is not coming from God. That does not come from God!] with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. [Christ entrusted these things to God to sort out. He allowed God to get those things sorted.] (18) Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (19) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear [To listen to what God has to say.], slow to speak, slow to wrath. (20) For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God.

COPING WITH THIS AGE (PLAY FROM 43:08)

The wrath of man -- our anger (It is human wrath.) -- is the problem. You see when we are looking at today, and the mind games that we are thinking about today, let's turn over to II Timothy chapter 3. We find ourselves in a time, and it's going to get worse, where there is great evil. The potential for evil is there. And if we start playing mind games along these lines, the evil will in fact consume us.

II Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times will come.

Times of stress will come. Now, we are in the last days. The times of stress will come, and we need to be aware of that. Notice in verse 13:

II Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers [will become] worse and worse, [both] deceiving, and being deceived.

Now, if you pick up a newspaper today, that's what you find. That's exactly what you find, all through the newspaper. People that don't know their left hand from their right. Remember what Jonah was like? He sat on a hill, waiting for the wrath to descend on Nineveh. He said, "I knew, I knew You're a merciful God. You let them get away with it!" You really do feel for Jonah. But Jonah wanted to zap Nineveh. He didn't want Nineveh to survive. But here we are:

II Timothy 3:13-15 Evil men and seducers shall [become]worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (14) But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; (15) And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise into salvation ...

Do you know what salvation means? It means rescue. It means saved, rescued. And as we go on and understand about faith, this is where faith comes from. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God;" and it has to do with rescue.

II Timothy 3:15-17 ... unto salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Ready for what he needs to do into the future. But we are, we are coming into a greater time of trouble; and therefore we have ... I mean the greatest time of trouble that will ever hit this earth is just up ahead of us. Where is it going to come from? It comes from the mind of man. So that what we are seeing in the newspapers, what we are seeing exhibited in all the kinds of articles and films and everything else that we see, is setting the world up for the greatest time of trouble that there will ever be. It is coming from a mindset.

Now, if we start playing mind games and we're feeding on that, what kind of things go on in our minds? So the problems today, our anger ... As I say, you look in Romans 1. We aren't going to turn there, but in Romans 1, where it talks about how God has basically been thrown out of the window. And it starts to lead, step by step. We're already way past there. We're right down into the area of education -- how education has no God within there. The entire progression of thought and the progression of perversity you can see in Romans 1, and we can see that mirrored in our newspapers today. We can see it, and we can see where the direction is going. We can see the end result. We know it's going to be the greatest time of trouble. And we get furious! But you see, we can't. We cannot get furious, because these people don't know their right hand from their left.

Turn over to Romans chapter 7, because it's only by the grace of God that we have been given a certain viewpoint, a certain perspective. In Romans chapter 7, we cannot allow our anger to go into the area of sin.

Romans 7:7-9 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, You shall not covet. (8) But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all [kinds of lusts], for without [apart from] the law sin was dead. [In other words, he reckoned he was okay. He was a Pharisee. He'd ticked all the boxes. He was okay.] (9) For I was alive without the law once [Without the spiritual law, he's talking about -- the true law of God.]: but when the commandment came [When he started to really see.], sin revived, and I died.

What was he seeing? What was this thing that he sought to understand? It's the mind games. It's the spiritual side of things. That's where the frontier is. That's where the battle lines are drawn. That's where Satan is working. That is where "the spirit of the power of the air" gets in. That's where we have to go ahead and defeat him. That's why it talks "the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." And here we see that, yes, Paul found that, no, at one time he thought he was okay; because all he was looking at was the physical side. But it's not just the physical side. It's the mind games. So, as we approach Passover, we need that Passover. We really do! We need that sacrifice of Christ because the law of God, as it says here ...

Romans 7:12 The law [of God] is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good. ... (14) [It's] spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.

And this is the basic problem. It says in verse 18:

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Not in this flesh. It doesn't come from him. As it says in verse 7 of chapter 8:

Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, either indeed can be. (8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

If we have not got a mind that is converted, the mind games that we will play will not be converted mind games at all! They will be carnal. There's the problem. And as we are approaching Passover, we need to understand this: that in our flesh there is no good thing. It mirrors the same thing that was said to the rich young ruler. "Who are you calling good? There's none good but one, that is God." You've got to get that sorted first. That's the how. And, as it says in chapter 8:

Romans 8:1-5 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [They are being led in the right way. The mind games are being done according to the Spirit of God.] (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. [This law that you go ahead and you sin, therefore you die. No, it's the life that you live in Christ Jesus. In other words, the body that you are in is the same body that Christ had. It's a body that is led by the Spirit of God. It's the living Word of God. It's the Spirit of God that is in us.](3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled [filled to the brim]in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [And that includes the kind of mind games we play as well. The kind of mind games we play are not to be the same kind of things that would happen to anybody that's being led by the flesh, just going down the natural normal way.] (5) For they that are after the flesh do [set their mind on]the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

And that is the direction that we need to make sure that we are taking. This is the problem today. The anger! It says: "the wrath of man does not fulfill the righteousness of God." And in this subject of mind games it certainly is very, very true. Turn back to Luke chapter 18, because here in Luke 18 it comes straight after a section that is talking about the time the Church flees, the time that "wherever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together" -- the place of safety and the time we are in today. And it says:

Luke 18:1-3 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not [to give up]. (2) Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: (3) And there was a widow in that city; and she came to him saying, Avenge me of my adversary.

You see, we are in a battle; and this adversary is very much "the spirit of the power of the air." And that battle is in these mind games that we play.

Luke 18:3-7 Avenge me of my adversary. (4) And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; (5) Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. (6) And the Lord said, [You just listen to]what the unjust judge said. (7) And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

We get on our knees (and we do), and we need to sigh and cry for the things that we see within society; but we put it in the hands of Him that judges righteously. We don't go ahead and start playing mind games ourselves, where WE ARE THE ONES that will sort it out. That's the problem. We erect, if you like, an image of ourselves. WE go in there and wipe out whoever. That's the problem. But you cry out to God and you ask Him, and He will -- He will answer. Eventually it will come. And when He comes, when Christ returns, He will sort out these people; and He will put to death these people. But He is God, and He can judge righteously. We are flesh. We can't. That's the problem. So in our mind, what are we doing? Are we judging righteously? No, we don't. We judge unrighteously.

THE ANTIDOTE TO MIND GAMES IS FAITH (PLAY FROM 54:14)

Luke 1:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?

You see, the key in this subject of mind games -- in this subject of finding ourselves reading papers, finding ourselves in situations, imagining ourselves in situations, and doing certain things -- the key to it all is faith. It is faith. And the kind of faith that we need is the same kind of faith that Christ had. It talks in Revelation about "this is the patience and the faith of the saints." (We'll go and read that in a little while.)

If you want to put in your notes, Isaiah 55:6-9: It talks about "My thoughts are not your thoughts." "My ways are not your ways." You see, thinking leads to ways. The way we think -- the mind games that we have -- lead to a certain way of life. This is why this subject is so important. Another one you can put in your notes (We won't have time to turn to it.) is Proverbs 23:6-8. It talks about how a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If we are having problems in these areas, and we are finding ourselves having a carnal approach, where does that come from?

Where is it coming from? Is it from the television set? Is it from the movies we watch? Is it from the books that we read? Because that's where the world comes into our mind! If we are watching TV, if we are watching violent films, what do we do? What's our natural reaction? If we are watching violent films or we're reading violent books, what's our natural reaction going to be? Is it going to be godly? Or is it going to be a reaction to the same things that we've actually seen?

In Romans chapter 10, be aware that it says here in verse 17: "Faith comes by hearing." How do we have the faith in God? Keep a hand in there and let's turn over to Revelation 13. I said I wasn't going to read that one, but I should have really read it, I think. So keep a hand in Romans 10, but in Revelation 13 it says in verse 10:

Revelation 13:10 He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

There is faith involved, that God will sort the problem out. It does not take Jon Bowles to go in there with either kalashnikovs [Transcriber's note: the AK-47, Russian machine gun.] or anything else and sort the problem out. That's not going to sort anything out at all. But here in Romans 10, how does this faith come?

Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

If we have our mind in this Word, if we go ahead and read the way in which God has worked, then our minds will start going down that route. But if we don't -- if our mind is absorbing all the TV, all the books that are out in the world, and looking at human solutions all the time -- our natural reaction, the mind games that we will be playing, will be human. They'll be of the flesh. They will not be of God.

Romans 10:17-21 Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (18) But I say, Have they not heard? Yes truly, their sound went [out] into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world [as it says in the Psalms]. (19) But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses said, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. (20) But Isaiah is very bold, and said, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. (21) But to Israel he said, All the day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people [that walk in a way not good, after their own thoughts].

Now you won't find that in here; but you go back and read it in Isaiah 65, and that's what it says. In Isaiah 65:2 it says "all day long I have stretched forth my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people that walk in a way not good, after their own thoughts." That is the emphasis. These people knew the scriptures. They could recite the scriptures. And here it says, yes, the sound goes out; but where's the thinking? Where's the meditation? This is the problem.

If all we do is just kind of go merrily through these words, and we read the words and we don't think, what use is it? But if we read the words and we meditate on the things that we are reading, then we start to understand the ways of God. We start to understand that God does work miracles. He does step in. He will step in, in the future.

Now, if you think about David, let's turn over to Psalm 119. (Just a couple of scriptures now.) Is there anybody that would have had the kind of problems that David would have had with his past and his violence? What kind of mind games would he have played? Huh, if somebody crossed him, he probably wouldn't have thought twice about it -- just take his head off, because he's done it so many times, literally. What kind of things would go through his mind? So what did he do? Let's have a look at a few scriptures.

Psalm 119:15 I will meditate in your percepts, and have respect unto your ways.

It's the meditation on the Word of God. It says, "Yes, hasn't the Word gone out?" Yes, the Word went out; but they went after their own thoughts. Their thinking was not going in the right direction. It is the meditation in these Words. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." But you get that by the mediation on the Word of God. You get that by thinking about, by (if you like) using the imagination to put yourself in the future -- imagining what the future will be like, imagining God taking action. This is where it's at. These are the mind games. There then comes your faith -- the faith in the One that will do that. You don't go down the pathway that is the natural, human, carnal approach; because the mind games that we've been playing have been godly ones. As it says here:

Psalm 119:16 I will delight myself in your statutes: I will not forget your word.

Why? Because he'd been meditating in them! Verse 23:

Psalm 119:23-24 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but your servant did meditate in your statutes. [In other words, they spoke against him (falsely perhaps, without a cause); but where was his mind? What were the mind games that he played? He meditated in God's statutes.](24) Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.

Psalm 119:47-48 And I will delight myself in your commandment, which I have loved. (48) My hands also will I lift up unto your commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in your statutes.

Continually through this particular psalm, it's not just a case of the law of God that he's praising. It's the law of God that he meditates in. It is the torah, the torah meaning the way marker -- the marker to the way of God, to the thinking of God, the mind of God. Let's have a look at verse 77.

Psalm 119:77-78 Let your tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for your law is my delight. (78) Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause; but I will meditate in your precepts.

They've dealt perversely, without a cause; but my mind is going to be turned to the precepts and meditating on them. Turn over to verse 97. It says:

Psalm 119:97-99 O how love I your law! It is my meditation all the day. (98) You through your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies: for they are ever with me. [Why are they ever with him? Because the mind games that he plays, he's meditating in them. He reads these words, he reads what God's mind is; and he meditates in it as to how it fits within the current situation that he finds himself in.] (99) I have more understanding than all my teachers: for your testimonies are my meditation [my thinking].

That's what he is concentrating on. And he goes on, over in verse 147:

Psalm 119:147-149 I [anticipated]the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in your word. (148) My eyes prevent the night watches [In other words, throughout the night I was thinking about this.], that I might meditate in your word. (149) Hear my voice according unto your lovingkindness: O [ETERNAL], [make me alive]according to your judgment.

He's thinking and meditating on these things, on these words. And what then happens if he does, in fact, meditate on these words? And again, you're coming back to what? The Psalms. The Psalms are filled with the meditation of David on the laws of God, and the way in which they apply in life. And what are they designed for? To be sung within the very temple of God, within the Church of God.

You see, what happens when we have "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the words of God"? What happens when we meditate on these things? What is it that takes place? Well, what becomes real is the Word of God, more than the carnal response. That's the difference. So we start to understand the thinking of God, and therefore that is the faith. That is the faith of God. It's the actual response is more real than the physical.

The Word of God response is more real than the physical. So the mind games we are playing, if we find ourselves in a certain situation, we read something in a newspaper, and we start to go down a certain way. What happened in a case of say Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? What happened in the case of whatever? You know, what does it say within Revelation about God's people? What will happen as far the two witnesses are concerned? What will happen in the future, when you are actually resurrected, or you are actually standing there with some of these people who are resurrected? Do we go through these things in our mind? Are they more real to us? If we turn over to Revelation 13, let's just have a look at a couple of scriptures over in Revelation just to finish.

Revelation 13:6-9 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy [This is talking about the beast that is a satanic system. He opened his mouth in blasphemy.] against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (7) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. [Now is this going to be the reality that we play our mind games with? Is this what's going to be in our minds?] (8) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (9) If any man have an ear, let him hear.

Understand. Listen to what this is saying. We within the Church must listen. We must understand that we are in this time.

Revelation 13:10 He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity [That's a promise; and we can look, and we can imagine in our mind games, if we find ourselves in a situation, we can see "Hang on. These people are going to go into captivity." That's the mind game.]: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. [So, if we see this, or we imagine this, we can imagine what this also promises -- that these people will be killed with the sword. That is their destiny. That is the way that they are going to go.] Here [It's in that -- in this thought, in this thinking, in these mind games.] is the patience and the faith of the saints.

That's what we should be thinking of. It's God's Word. You know "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Here are some words that God has uttered; and we should have the faith and the patience to allow that to be in God's hands, and if you like "committed ... to Him that judges righteously" the same way that Christ did. It is an active faith. In chapter 14, notice verse 6:

Revelation 14:6-8 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, (7) Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come; and worship him that make heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the foundations of waters. (8) And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Now, eventually, this system is going to go. We will watch it disappear. We've got to have a bigger view than just what's going on now in this society. This society is destined to be destroyed. But, you know, you've got to be able to see what is happening and to put it into its context, see down the line, and realize the whole thing.

Revelation 14:9-12 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, (10) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (11) And the smoke [It's the smoke, notice.] of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast [They cannot escape out of it. They are not going to be able to get out of this. Once they are in this particular situation, they will be destroyed who worship the beast ... ] and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name. (12) Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God [And I'll add in there "are meditating on it" as well -- the way David was meditating on them. Keeping them. Thinking about them. Meditating on them.], and the faith of Jesus.

Where did that faith come from? "Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God" -- meditating on that Word. And when we are doing that, what we are doing is that we are making them more real; and they become more real then than any fleshly mind games that we might play.