Sunday Scripture It's been so long since I administered a standardized test to a first grader that I had almost forgotten the most crucial skill being assessed is a little boy's ability to sit still for twenty to thirty minutes at a time while attending to academic material. Even with frequent and very stimulating breaks--butterfly… Continue reading What Obstacles Stand in the Way of Your Daily Endurance Test?
Four days into 2016 and already my resolve is being tested. Maybe that's true for you as well, and as unsettling as it is to encounter our own lack of self-discipline or perseverance, it is certainly a helpful perspective to bring to the study of Hebrews 2:14-18. When Jesus took on the constraints of a body,… Continue reading The Endless Downward Pull of Temptation
When the angel announced good news to a band of startled shepherds, the heavenly messenger could not possibly have anticipated the extent of the gift or its impact. In Chapter 14 of The Mortification of Sin, John Owen puts words around the unwrapping of God's gift in his Directions for the Work of Mortifying Sin. … Continue reading Good News of Great Joy
The Puritans, apparently, were not preoccupied with self-esteem issues. John Owen's opening thoughts in Chapter 12 of The Mortification of Sin demonstrate the great gulf between his mind set and present-day sensibilities. Even though it may be understood that, when compared with the God of the universe, yes, any mortal creature could be filled "at all… Continue reading Mind the Gap
In Chapter X of John Owen's The Mortification of Sin, he urges his readers toward a "clear sense" of: 1. The guilt of sin -- "It is one of the deceits of a prevailing lust to extenuate its own guilt." 2. The danger of sin -- "Of being hardened by deceitfulness; . . . of some great temporal… Continue reading Getting a Clear Sense — A Letter to a Much-loved Child
Over-eating is an embarrassing sin. There may be a few others that rival the obvious and detectable nature of its presence in a person's life, but I don't think so. Those extra calories are there for all the world to see, filling up waist bands, bulging behind buttons, and squishing out over a starched collar. I hate it.… Continue reading Image Management and the Gospel
Fourteen years as a missionary in Cambodia changes your view of God. It changes the way you stand in front of a church and give a report. "This is what God did" somehow gets sorted out from "This is what I thought He was doing at the time" and "This is what I expected." In fourteen years, a… Continue reading What Do They Really Need?
I'm with Paul. When he vents in Romans 7 about his "captivity to the law of sin," I hear a howl of frustration. For Paul, for me, sin is an inside job, and we are all betrayed by our own mortal flesh before we open our eyes in the morning. But then, being Paul, he… Continue reading The Non-methodical Method
The delightful community at The Loft has posed a question: What would you tell your past self, and I'm sharing my musings here based on The Mortification of Sin by John Owen, a Puritan theologian who wrote this entire book based on one verse, Romans 8:13, and putting forth one huge directive: Be killing sin, or it… Continue reading Mortification of Sin: A Gift of the Spirit
It 's an occupational hazard, I suppose -- twenty years of child-rearing and almost twice that of standing in front of random groupings of kids and teens in hopes of teaching them something from the Bible. It's no wonder, then, that when I want to make sure I understand something, I imagine communicating it to children. … Continue reading When Are Children Ready for John Owen?